Boy Scouts in a war zone

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.

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 boy scouts.

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Text by Amy Niang/Mail&Guardian

Photo: Will Baxter/Mail&Guardian