By Aurore Bonny
DOUALA, Cameroon (AA) - Heads of State and representatives from the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) met Friday in Libreville, Gabon and appointed a mediator to the Central African crisis.
They also deployed an electoral observation mission for the Dec. 27 presidential and legislative elections, according to a final communique received by Anadolu Agency.
The heads of state reaffirmed "unreserved support" to the Central African government and people within the framework of the ongoing electoral process.
They also urged Central African stakeholders to prioritize “dialogue and the search for consensus" and implored all Central African Republic's partners to engage in "greater commitment to a successful conclusion of the electoral process."
The community also condemned attacks against humanitarians of the United Nations Integrated Multidimensional Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).
“The humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic has continued to deteriorate due to inter-community tensions, clashes between armed groups and attacks against civilians and humanitarian workers,” the UN mission said last October.
The Central African Republic continued to be "one of the most dangerous places in the world for humanitarian workers," according to the UN Secretary-General
The MINUSCA recorded 267 attacks against humanitarian workers in 2020, with two killed and 20 wounded, down from 388 during the same period last year.
It also noted that nearly 659,000 Central Africans were displaced and 623,909 were living as refugees in neighboring Cameroon, Chad and Congo, and "more than half of the population, or 2.6 million people, needed humanitarian assistance," according to Ndiaye Mankeur, special representative of the Secretary-General and head of MINUSCA.
About 750,000 are "in an emergency situation" and "the Covid-19 health crisis has aggravated existing vulnerabilities and the humanitarian crisis in the country."
Also, President of the Republic of Congo Denis Sassou Ngessou took office Friday as the new leader of ECCAS. He succeeds Gabonese President Ali Bongo who has been in the post since 2015.
"It is therefore with a feeling of accomplished work that my mission at the head of ECCAS comes to an end. I remain confident in the future of our community organization and its ability to meet, with the support of our people, the multifaceted challenges facing our States," said Bongo.