Tag Archives: Bangui

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.

COVID19: EU aid to Central African Republic

Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management, is travelling today to Bangui on the first flight and will meet H.E. Faustin-Archange Touadéra, President of the Central African Republic, as well as humanitarian organisations.

The European Commission has set up an EU Humanitarian Air Bridge to transport humanitarian workers and emergency supplies for the coronavirus response to some of most critical areas around the world.

Leaving any area of the world unprotected today leaves us all unprotected tomorrow. As part of our global response, the EU will open a dedicated Humanitarian Air Bridge to get aid into areas which lack supplies due to the difficulties of global transit. This can be a lifeline for some of the most vulnerable communities worldwide” Commissioner Janez Lenarčič said.

The first EU flight, operated in cooperation with France, is departing from Lyon airport and will transport around 60 humanitarian workers from various NGOs and 13 tonnes of humanitarian cargo. Two subsequent humanitarian cargo flights will follow in the coming days to transport a further 27 tonnes of humanitarian supplies in total. On their return leg, the Air Bridge flights will also bring back EU citizens and other passengers from the Central African Republic in a repatriation effort.

More EU humanitarian flights are being scheduled for the coming weeks, prioritising African countries where the pandemic has the potential to worsen many existing humanitarian crises.

Mogherini visits Central African Republic

The EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini met in Bangui with the President of the Central African Republic Faustin-Archange Touadéra. The visit is a part of her tour of the Sahel region and the Central African Republic.

At a critical juncture for the peace and reconciliation process in the Central African Republic (CAR), this meeting provided an opportunity to discuss the latest developments since the signing in Bangui the Peace and Reconciliation Agreement on  February 6 2019 been the Central African authorities and the 14 armed groups.
The EU diplomat and President Touadéra emphasized the historic chance that this Agreement offered for an exit from the humanitarian, security and political crisis that continues to affect the country’s population. They underlined that the progress has been made already in the implementation of the Agreement and expressed their concern over the persistent challenges and violations by some of armed groups.

At a meeting with the Government chaired by President Touadéra,  Mogherini emphasized the need for the signatory parties to demonstrate responsibility, openness and respect for their commitments; it particularly the need for acceleration of the implementation process of the Agreement, demobilization, disarmament, reintegration and transitional justice. The EU diplomat also encouraged the Agreement‘s guarantors to use their authority for a stronger application of the Agreement. In this context, the region and the international partners of CAR as well as civil society, women and youth should fully play their role, she said.

Mogherini also recalled the high expectations of the population with regard to justice and the fight against impunity, as well as with regard to security and the return of State authority and basic services on the entire territory.

The EU top diplomat and President Touadéra reviewed cooperation between the European Union and the CAR, using an integrated approach. They noted that the EU remains the major and reliable partner for the Central African Republic, mobilizing all its instruments at the political, security, humanitarian and development cooperation levels. The priorities of the EU are aligned with those of the government: to meet the expectations of the population, particularly in terms of security, justice-reconciliation, development and governance, the rule of law, humanitarian needs. Thus, the EU’s engagement in the country continues to respond to several factors: the interest in lasting stabilization in the country, in a region where the resources of the EU and its member states are already strongly committed; and the defense of shared values ​​in the face of repeated violations of human rights by armed groups.
Mogerini and Touadéra made a trip to Bouar, in the west of the country, to inaugurate an EU-funded military camp for the benefit of Central African armed forces and to visit the new branch of the European Military Training MissionEUTM RCA, intended to accompany the rise of the Central African Armed Forces as well as Special Mixed Security Units provided for in the Peace Agreement.

A meeting with women Central African leaders finally allowed to recall the essential role of these in the process of peace, reconciliation and recovery of the CAR.

This visit to CAR was another opportunity to reaffirm the strength of the outstanding partnership between the EU and the CAR and, for the High Representative, to assure President Touadéra of the full support of the EU for the sustainable stabilization and development of the CAR. It took the opportunity to highlight the planned strengthening of EU action in the CAR, inter alia through an increase and extension of its Bêkou Trust Fund, in particular for health, agriculture and rural development, and considering a possible civilian mission to support the Central African internal security forces.

CAR arms embargo prolonged

The UN Security Council has made a step towards the possibly to ease the arms embargo on the Central African Republic (CAR). A French-drafted resolution promoted the view of a need to enable the supply of weapons to government forces fighting militia groups who control large parts of the country.

The Council adopted the draft of the resolution calling for a review of the arms embargo by September if a number of benchmarks are met by the Central African government.The embargo was imposed in 2013 when the country entered the civil war following the ousting of President Francois Bozize by the Seleka rebel group. Authorities in Bangui have frequently called for the lifting of the restrictions, arguing that the supply of arms is crucial for its  security forces.

A UN panel of experts has noted that anti-government groups continue to receive military equipment, much of it from Sudan, while the country’s security forces remain poorly-equipped, The Council said it would extend the embargo until January next year, however it laid out a series of benchmarks that could lead to a partial lifting. Benchmarks will be agreed upon by April and include the creation of a strategy for reintegrating former members of armed groups and other measures such as the management and storage of weapons and ammunition. The resolution was described as displaying a “real openness” to a partial lifting of the arms embargo, according to the French Ambassador to the UN Francois Delattre.

Calls by the CAR government to lift the embargo were “heard loud and clear”, Delattre said, calling the resolution a “roadmap that in a few months’ time could lead to a slight lifting of the arms embargo”.

Russian journalists victims of CAR armed robbery

The investigation has restored a sequence of events concerning the fatal trip of three Russian journalists – Orkhan Dzhemal, Kirill Radchenko and Alexander Rastroguyev – to the Central African Republic (CAR), where they were murdered in July 2018, Russian Investigative Committee Spokesperson Svetlana Petrenko told TASS.

The Investigation Management Center (IMC) web project promised a reward of $20,000 to the Russian journalists if they shoot a documentary in the CAR, considered to be one of ten most dangerous countries in the world. Nevertheless, no protection was provided to the journalists who arrived to the country with tourist visas and did not receive credentials,” Petrenko said.

According to the Russian investigators IMC contacted Cyrill Romanovsky who gave them a telephone number of the so-called fixer who acted under name Martin.

Romanovsky promised to provide accommodation and a driver to the journalists during their stay in Africa. Petrenko underlined that the three arrived to the country’s capital of Bangui on July 28, 2018, which was two days before the planned date, and failed to meet Martin.

Their driver testified that he had met the Russian journalists in one of Bangui’s cafes on the day of their arrival. “Since he knows English and has a pickup truck, the journalists suggested he accompany them on their trips around the country. The fixer named Martin was not involved,Petrenko said, adding that the driver had no connection to the CAR Gendarmerie.

On July 30, 2018, the journalists departed from Bangui to the city of Sibut where they arrived the same night. When they were leaving the city, Central African military servicemen warned them that it was dangerous to travel at nighttime but the Russians continued their trip, saying they were short of time,” the spokesperson explained.

She added that even military patrols preferred to avoid night trips, given the number of armed gangs active in the country. “A group of armed black men who spoke Arabic stopped the car near a village 23 kilometers from Sibut. The attackers ordered everyone to get out of the car and demanded they gave up all of their belongings, photo and video devices. When the Russians refused and tried to resist the attack, they were gunned down, while the driver managed to flee the scene in the car,” Petrenko explained.

According to Petrenko, the investigation sent requests for legal assistance to the Central African Republic’s law enforcement agencies. “The vesicle was examined, witnesses who had seen the journalists in Bangui and Sibut were questioned. All the cars passing through that checkpoint in Sibut are also being checked, as well as those that were present in the area on the night of the murder,” she continued, underlining that the request was partially answered within the capabilities of local authorities.

At his stage the investigation is focused on identification of the murderers of the Russians. “It must be clarified that by initiating media reports on the matter, the Investigation Management Center project clearly seeks to justify the mistakes it made during preparations for the trip, this is why it prefers to put forward its own theories and accuse the innocent,” Petrenko said.

The corpses of three men were found near the city of Sibut (300 km north of Bangui) on July 30. The Russian Foreign Ministry said later that the all three of them had been carrying press cards in the names of Kirill Radchenko, Alexander Rastorguyev and Orkhan Dzhemal.

The Russian Investigative Committee launched a criminal investigation into the murder and sent an investigation team to Africa.

There are reports of rebel activity, banditry and hostage-taking across the country. The situation in the capital, Bangui remains fragile with periodic instances of killings, looting and gunfire. There are armed patrols in Bangui and you will encounter several roadblocks – official and unofficial – that are likely to be manned by armed personnel. Take particular care when approaching these. You are strongly advised not to travel around Bangui especially after dark. You should take extreme care, and travel in groups if possible.” – the UK foreign travel advice warns.
Taking photographs which the authorities deem as damaging the image of the country (street children, people with disabilities) is not permitted.”…You can get a permit for more serious photography from the Ministry of Tourism“. 

One of the world’s poorest countries, the CAR degraded into bloodshed after longtime leader Francois Bozize was overthrown in 2013 by a predominantly Muslim rebel alliance called the Seleka.

The vast territories of the country have succumbed to  violent militant groups. Since the fall of the Bozize, there has been no government control outside of the capital. Armed gangs have set up checkpoints, collect illegal taxes, and cash millions of dollars from the illicit coffee, mineral, and timber trades.