There are more Scouts than peacekeepers in the Central African Republic. Even in the midst of a civil war, the Scouts are arguably more effective. Discover this fascinating story of hope in CAR written by Moussa Abdoulaye, Simon Allison, Will Baxter and Amy Niang for Mail&Guardian.
Bangui: It is early August, and the humanitarian aid community in the Central African Republic’s capital Bangui is fearing the worst. The Ebola outbreak in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo is intensifying and there is a chance the epidemic may jump the border into a remote area of the eastern CAR. The area is under the control of armed groups.
One Thursday morning, some jumbled information from there reaches the capital. There are people bleeding. Haemorrhaging. It might be Ebola.
The information needs to be verified. Is it true? And if so, is it Ebola?
As in most of the rest of the country, there is no government presence in the CAR’s far east. Periodic violence means there are no international organisations either. There is no health system, no reliable communications network, no way to know whether the information was accurate without despatching a helicopter, loaded with heavily armed peacekeepers, at much expense and great risk.
Actually, there is one other option. It’s time to send in the Scouts.