Category Archives: Central Africa

CAR: France suspends Military cooperation

Paris suspended its military cooperation and budgetary aid to the Central African government, terming the Central African Republic (CAR) “complicit” in an anti-French campaign. (Image: illustration)

The French military ministry said that it considered the Central African state as “complicit” in a Russian-led anti-French campaign.

“On several occasions, the Central African authorities have made commitments that they have not kept, both politically towards the opposition and in terms of their behaviour
towards France, which is the target of a massive disinformation campaign in CAR,” Paris said.

“The Russians are not to blame, but the Central Africans are at best accomplices in this campaign,” it added.

In April, five French military aid workers who were posted to the Central African Defence Ministry were recalled to Paris. The military training provided to the Central African Armed Forces (Faca) by troops stationed in Gabon has also been suspended, the ministry stated, confirming information from the French news website Mediapart.

France, a former colonial power, continues to contribute around 100 soldiers to the European mission EUTM-RCA, which mobilizes nearly 200 soldiers to train the FACA.

Ten of the soldiers do participate in the UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic (Minusca), which has 12,000 blue helmets in the region.

When prompted by AFP on the budgetary restrictions imposed, the French Foreign Ministry however did not reveal any figure.

France, which intervened from 2013 to 2016 through Operation Sangaris to stop the violence, handed over some 1,400 assault rifles to the Faca in December 2018 after obtaining an exemption to the UN embargo.

A few months earlier, Russia had made a remarkable entry into this former French “pré carré” by delivering arms to the Faca at the beginning of 2018 and by installing a contingent of military instructors.

Last December, reportedly Russia urgently dispatched hundreds of paramilitaries to the aid of President Faustin Archange Touadéra’s army, threatened by a rebellion.

Numerous witnesses and NGOs claim that these paramilitaries are fighters from the Russian private security group Wagner, which Moscow continues to deny.

BANGUI: AU denies press reports allegations

Brussels 09.06.2021 The representative of the African Union denied information that a joint delegation of the AU, the European Union and the Economic Community of Central African Countries (ECCAS) came to the Central African Republic to persuade the head of state to start negotiations with the militants.

The Central African Republic is preparing for a nationwide dialogue, in which political and public leaders of the country will take part. In preparation for the event, President Faustin-Archange Touadéra held a series of consultations with representatives of various sectors of society.

At the same time, the head of the CAR absolutely unequivocally stated that negotiations with those who raised their hand against the civilian population are impossible. H.E. President Touadera’s position met with the approval of regular citizens, but the West has repeatedly sounded calls to establish communication with the leaders of criminal gangs.

Dialogue with such a person is simply impossible, as stated by the African Union Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Bancol Adoye, underlining that the AU calls on the media and politicians to refrain from propaganda of incitement to hatred and disinformation.

“We did not even mention former President Bozize and did not agree on him with Touadera. We called on all parties concerned to strongly condemn those who took up arms to seize state power. Our task is to promote peace in the CAR,” said the representative of the African Union.

Thus, the joint delegation of the EU, AU and ECCAS regards Jeune Afrique’s article as disinformation published in the interests of the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC). The CPC was formed by six rebel groups on December 15, 2020, with the aim to disrupt the country’s elections and oust President Faustin-Archange Touadera.

EU condemns Ituri massacres

Brussels 03.06.2021 “The European Union condemns in the strongest terms the massacres of civilians committed in recent days in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in particular in the Provinces of Ituri and North Kivu. The EU reiterates its concern over the continuing activities of armed groups accused of war crimes and serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in these provinces.

The perpetrators of these acts must be brought to justice by the authorities.

“The European Union renews its commitment to respect for international humanitarian law by all stakeholders. It invites the Congolese authorities and the security forces engaged to strengthen the protection of civilian populations.

“The European Union reaffirms its support for all those who are engaged as close as possible to the populations to face the consequences of the eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano and to come to the aid of the populations displaced either because of the persistence of insecurity or because of the natural disasters. The safety of humanitarian workers and their free access to disaster areas are essential conditions for ensuring the protection and support of affected populations.

“Efforts to tackle the causes of insecurity and instability in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo must be accelerated and translated into action”.

Eid: Clashes in Kinshasa

Brussels 14.05.2021 A police officer in Democratic Republic of the Congo’s capital Kinshasa was beaten to death and 46 others were wounded as rival Muslim groups clashed during Eid celebrations on Thursday, a police spokesman said.

Members of two opposing camps vying for leadership positions in Congo’s Muslim community wrangled outside Kinshasa’s Martyrs Stadium Thursday morning, where they had planned to worship together as a demonstration of unity.

“Unfortunately, there were extremists who didn’t want the two groups to pray together today,” said Sylvano Kasongo, the chief the Kinshasa police.

Officers fired tear gas and warning shots to disperse the crowd. Rioters threw stones and destroyed a police vehicle.

CAR: UN accuses Russians

Brussels 05.05.2021 In the Central African Republic, the brutal methods of the Russian “instructors” who fight alongside the Central African army are giving rise to growing fear and concern. On March 31, the United Nations Working Group on Mercenaries warned of a long series of serious human rights violations attributed to them. RFI had access to many confidential documents and collected words from victims. Investigation.

In Bangui, the presence of Russian mercenaries and the abuses of which they are accused are subjects of which one speaks in low voices, in private, and in anonymity.
“It’s the elephant in the middle of the room,” said a diplomatic source. “We only see him, but we pretend he’s not there.” Officially, they are not here. The Russian narrative on the subject is extremely well established. The Russian ambassador in Bangui acknowledges the dispatch of 535 men whom he describes as “instructors” who “do not take part in the fighting” except “if they are targeted.”

However, many national and international security sources contradict this version. They mention 800 to 2,000 mercenaries deployed in the CAR, alongside the Central African armed forces, often “on the front line” during clashes and also present at checkpoints and strategic locations.
For part of the public, weary of the occupation and violence of armed groups, the Russians are Saviours. They played a decisive role in the counter-offensive which made it possible to retake most of the country’s major cities. Their action is also supported by an active communication campaign from the authorities. Few dissenting voices publicly dare to question their methods, in the climate of fear that has taken hold in certain regions of the country.

On March 31, for the first time, a group of independent experts came to break this silence. In a press release, the UN Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries attached to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, denounces the increased use of private security companies by the authorities in Bangui. And alert on a long list of abuses which are “attributable” to them: “mass summary executions, arbitrary detentions, torture during interrogations, enforced disappearances, forced displacement of civilians, indiscriminate targeting of civilian installations, violations of the right to health and growing attacks on humanitarian actors.”

Three Russian entities are cited in this press release: the “Wagner Group”, considered to be the private armed wing of Moscow, some of whose fighters have recently come under charges for a possible war crime in Syria; “Sewa Security Services”, a company incorporated under Central African law founded in Bangui in 2017 and considered as the subsidiary of Wagner in the country; and finally “Lobaye Invest SARLU”, a mining company founded in the Central African Republic in 2017, one of whose officials has been placed under sanctions by the United States. The Task Force says it has gathered evidence of their “involvement in a series of violent attacks” in the Central African Republic since last December.

Several internal United Nations reports that RFI has consulted support these accusations. One of them lists at least a hundred victims of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed either by the Faca and their Russian allies or by Russian elements alone, between January 1, 2021 and mid-January. April. Among these violations: 26 extrajudicial executions, 5 rapes as well as 27 cases of arbitrary arrests and deprivation of liberty.

“Many civilians have been killed or injured (…) although they are very far from legitimate military targets,” the report concludes.

Among the most affected prefectures: that of Ouaka, north-east of Bangui. Fo two months, Bambari, capital of this prefecture, located 370 kilometers from the capital.

Borrell: CAR consolidation for peace

Brussels 27.12.2020 The Central African Republic elections are a crucial step for the “consolidation of democracy and peace”, the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell wrote in his Twitter micro blog. He called for the “mobilization of voters and the responsibility of all actors for credible, transparent, inclusive and peaceful elections”, especially mentioning the European Union – African Union ties in support of the democratic transition.

Meanwhile the former Central African Republic president Francois Bozize (pictured) backs the rebels, and urges people against voting in presidential and legislative elections today, AFP Africa reports.

Francois Bozize, president of the Central African Republic from 2003 to 2013 and a participant in two previous attempted coups d’etat, returned from exile in 2019 to run for his old job. In December, just three weeks ahead of the election, Bozize was barred by the Constitutional Court from running again. The court ruled that he had failed to meet the “good morality” requirement for candidates because of an international warrant for his arrest and UN sanctions on charges of assassination and torture. He has since been accused of plotting a new coup.

Despite a series of attacks in the run-up to the Central African Republic’s presidential and legislative elections — the first since a fragile peace deal was reached between the government and rebels in February 2019 — as well as threats against the centers where voter cards are distributed, the possibility of assaults on polling places and the killings of three UN peacekeepers on Saturday, the national elections authority, ANE, has reported that the vote will go on.

Despite threats against voting offices and polling places, the Central African Republic’s election authority has said Sunday’s, December 27, vote will go ahead. According to press reports Mankeur Ndiaye, the UN’s special envoy for CAR said the situation was under the control of the UN Blue Helmets, together with the Central African armed forces and the Central African domestic security forces, such as gendarmes and police. They were on the scene to react to any attacks or strategies of harassment by certain armed groups in alliance with Francois Bozize, the goal of which was to obstruct the election process by preventing Central African citizens from receiving their voting cards and going to polling places on December 27.

“We face attacks every day, but our response has been overwhelming” Mankeur Ndiaye concluded.

CAR: Touadéra joins election

The President of the Central African Republic (CAR), Faustin-Archange Touadéra, announced his candidacy for the presidential election scheduled for December 27 on Saturday September 26.

“It’s a heavy responsibility. A very heavy responsibility. I accept to be your candidate ”, declared the Head of State, elected in February 2016 and whose candidacy is not a surprise, in front of the members of his party, the United Hearts Movement (MCU), gathered in congress in the capital Bangui.

More than 7 years after the coup d’état of a coalition of armed groups with a Muslim majority, the Seleka, which overthrew President François Bozizé in 2013, the first round of the presidential and legislative elections is scheduled for December 27, but uncertainty prevails today as to the possibility of holding them within this timeline, as significant delays have arisen in their organisation, in particular the registration of voters.

Ebola outbreak in DR Congo

Ebola outbreak in western Democratic Republic of Congo has infected 100 people as of August 21, claiming lives of 43 of them, the World Health Organization said.

The latest outbreak of the virus was declared on June 1 in Mbandaka, a city of one million people on the River Congo, just before DR Congo declared the end of a previous outbreak in the east that had lasted for two years.

It has spread to remote villages in Equateur province spanning more than 300 km of dense tropical jungle with few roads, the WHO said in a statement. The pace of the virus’s spread has been relatively consistent, case data shows.

“The virus is spreading across a wide and rugged terrain which requires costly interventions,” said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s Africa regional director.

As in previous outbreaks, the WHO has implemented a ring vaccination strategy, where contacts of infected individuals are vaccinated, reaching more than 22,600 people to date.

In late June Congo celebrated the end of a genetically distinct Ebola outbreak which killed more than 2,200 people over two years. Despite effective vaccines and treatments that dramatically boosted survival rates, however the response was limited by having to operate in areas controlled by armed groups.

There are the other problems along with security, complicating the situation, the last week health responders in Mbandaka went on strike and blocked access to testing laboratories for three days in protest over unpaid salaries and low pay scales. The strike ended on Monday when the government agreed to examine their claims.

Despite effective vaccines and treatments that dramatically boosted survival rates, the response was hampered by having to operate in areas controlled by armed groups.

Last week health responders in Mbandaka went on strike and blocked access to testing laboratories for three days in protest over unpaid salaries and low pay scales. The strike ended when the government agreed to examine their claims.

Congo’s equatorial forests are a natural reservoir for the Ebola virus, which was discovered near the Ebola River in 1976 and causes severe fièvre, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Congo’s equatorial forests are a natural reservoir for the Ebola virus, which was discovered near the Ebola River in 1976 and causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea.

AU confirms Ebola outbreak

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has a new Ebola outbreak in the northeast province of the country.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on June 1 released a statement announcing the outbreak in Mbandaka, in Équateur province. According to the statement, six cases have been confirmed, with four deaths and two patients under medical care.

“It is likely more people will be identified with the disease as surveillance activities increase,” added the statement.

DRC: new Ebola case established

Democratic Republic of Congo has confirmed a case of Ebola in the western province of Equateur, over 1,000 km away from the ongoing outbreak in the country’s east, Health Minister Eteni Longondo told journalists on June 1.

The diagnosis presents a serious challenge to health authorities. In April, Congo was days from declaring the end of the second-largest Ebola epidemic on record when a new series of contaminations was confirmed in the east.

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