UN Secretary-General António Guterres (UN Photo/Mark Garten).

The UN General Secretary has called on world leaders to assist the Central African Republic, as the crisis there has deepened over the last three months.

“In the Central African Republic, we have seen a 37 per cent increase in refugees and displaced people in just the last three months,” said Antonio Guterres at a press conference yesterday (13 September) prior to the opening of the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly.

“[There] is grave cause for concern in a country where more than half the population are in dire need of assistance. I hope global leaders will give this crisis their attention during their talks next week.”

At least 25 people have been killed in a new wave of violence over the past week, said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in its weekly report, released on Tuesday (12 September).

World Watch Monitor has reported on the recent upsurge of violence in the south-eastern towns of Gambo and Zemio, where recent massacres have claimed hundreds of lives and forced thousands to flee. Now a report released by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) on 12 September reveals the dramatic impact of the violence in Zemio.

“For the past few weeks, Zemio has been a ghost town. Almost everybody has left, afraid of more attacks and of the town turning into a battlefield between different armed groups. Driving through town, you see burned down houses and looted shops,” said MSF.

“The only people left are those who couldn’t run away”, added MSF, such as the elderly and the disabled. As a result, the population of the town has dropped from 21,000 to under 1,000, according to the aid organisation.

“The armed groups in Zemio no longer respect humanitarian workers and they care nothing for MSF’s values of neutrality and impartiality,” it said. “There are a large number of people at risk – some of them wounded and all of them struggling – who we are unable to reach and take care of.”