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The Central African Republic is one of the poorest countries in the world. It is torn by conflicts that are complex and unpredictable. While the fighting in surrounding countries draws some attention, the violence within the Central African Republic and the spillover from its neighbours attract almost none. These photographs, by the ICRC’s Marko Kokic, were taken in two remote areas of the country and show some of the consequences of violence. They are a partial description of a much larger tragedy.


Lives and homes destroyed

Sorovo Sarvatoriopai, father of seven, sits in front of his destroyed hut in Gubere Bassima, a small village near the town of Obo. The inhabitants of the village fled in 2009 after an attack attributed to an armed group known as the Lord’s Resistance Army. Two months ago, Sarvatoriopai’s wife and sister disappeared while foraging for food just outside Obo. He says that hunters later found their corpses deep in the jungle
©Marko Kokic/ICRC



A second chance

This child was abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army in March 2008. She managed to escape and returned to her community in the town of Obo in April 2010. “My nightmares will go away only when I know I am far away enough, in a place where they can never find me,” she says.
©Marko Kokic/ICRC


A lesson on humanitarian law

These members of the Central African Republic’s armed forces learn about international humanitarian law from the ICRC delegate and the Central African Red Cross Society.
©Marko Kokic/ICRC


A fight for survival

The men of Obo have formed a citizens’ militia to protect themselves and their families from the armed groups and bandits that have been robbing, abducting and killing people since late 2008. The militia use handmade weapons.
©Marko Kokic/ICRC


Life in flux

Conflict and banditry have forced thousands of people to flee their homes. This camp for internally displaced people, on the outskirts of Obo, houses nearly 5,000 people — all of whom fled neighbouring villages that had been attacked by an armed group. Their arrival has doubled the population of Obo.
©Marko Kokic/ICRC


A clash of cultures

In the northern province of Ouham, cattle herders in search of grazing land often clash with local farmers over land use
©Marko Kokic/ICRC

Drops of hope

The ICRC and the Central African Red Cross Society help villagers gain access to clean water — essential for good health. This is an aspect of the effort to resettle villages abandoned after attacks in 2007. Looted and largely destroyed by the attackers, the villages were deserted until recently, when residents returned from as far away as Chad.
©Marko Kokic/ICRC



Four walls and a small humanitarian space

In the village of Ouogo, an introductory session on international humanitarian law conducted by the ICRC and the Central African Red Cross Society for members of the Popular Army for the Restoration of Democracy.
©Marko Kokic/ICRC


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