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Press release

Abducted children reunited with family in Central African Republic

BANGUI, Central African Republic, 3 March 2014 - Four children – two girls and two boys – were reunited with their father by officials from UNICEF and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA), after being abducted by a militia, during which time they were threatened to be killed.

After their abduction on 24 February in Bangui, the siblings – aged between 3 and 13 years – were held for a ransom by a militia. Following the negotiation for their release – in which no ransom was paid – the four children were handed over to UNICEF and UN-OCHA on 26 February and received psychological support immediately from a partner organisation.  

“These abducted children have been through some terrifying days,” said Abdou Dieng, the UN’s Senior Humanitarian Coordinator in CAR. “Their mother died recently, and then they were taken away from their father. Now they are safe.”

UNICEF is concerned that child abduction may pose a growing threat to children affected by conflict in the Central African Republic, particularly those who have been separated from their families.

“Child abduction would represent a new and disturbing deterioration in the conflict,” said UNICEF Central African Republic Representative, Souleymane Diabaté. “This incident illustrates how the rights of children are being violated and why children continue to be the most vulnerable in the Central African Republic crisis.”

UNICEF calls on the authorities to do all they can to prevent and investigate any attack against children, and bring perpetrators to justice.

Note to editors
With now more than 150 staff on the ground, UNICEF has considerably and rapidly scaled up its humanitarian presence/operations in CAR to be able to adequately respond to the growing magnitude and severity of this crisis. UNICEF is strengthening its field presence by adding staff in established field offices in Bossangoa, Bambari and Kaga Bandoro as well as coordinating outreach strategies in the west and centre of the country.

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org

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For more information, please contact:

Madeleine Logan, UNICEF Bangui, Tel: +236 70738470, mlogan@unicef.org
Linda Tom, UNICEF Bangui, Tel : +236 70550210, ltom@unicef.org
Emmanuelle Schneider, OCHA Bangui, Tel: +236 72680067, schneider1@un.org
Laura Fultang, OCHA Bangui, Tel: +236 70188064, fultangl@un.org
Laurent Duvillier, UNICEF Dakar, Tel: +221 77 740 35 77, lduvillier@unicef.org
Kate Donovan, UNICEF New York, Tel: +1 212 326 7452, mailto:kpage@unicef.org




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