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Four MSF workers detained in Central African Republic: MSF

BANGUI (Reuters) – Four workers for Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) have been detained in Central African Republic for nearly a week following a raid by security forces on an MSF hospital in the capital Bangui, the aid group said on Friday.

It said one international and three local employees were taken into custody without any explanation on Dec. 14 after heavily armed security personnel searched the premises of surgical trauma centre run by MSF.

“We are extremely worried for our employees,” said Pierre Mendiharat, MSF’s deputy director of operations. “We demand a clear explanation of why our employees were detained and are being held in violation of the law.”

Central African Republic has been in chaos since 2013, when mainly Muslim rebels ousted the president, provoking a backlash from Christian militias. Despite electing a new leader in 2016, the country remains mired in political instability and inter-communal violence.

MSF said that one of the workers was being held on the premises of the state intelligence agency and the others are at the national anti-crime bureau. MSF, which runs 13 medical programmes in CAR, suspended non-emergency activities at the trauma centre.

CAR authorities could not immediately be reached for comment.

Reporting by Crispin Dembassa-Kette and Alessandra Prentice, Editing by Angus MacSwan

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