Tension is rising in Central African Republic (CAR) where rebels said to be loyal to former President Francoise Bozize united with two other opposition movements to take power.
In the capital Bangui and in other regions, the peacekeepers of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) on high alert to protect civilian populations and secure the elections.
In view of the deteriorating security situation in the west of the country, UN last Friday decided to deploy MINUSCA forces to Bossemptélé and Bossembélé, two municipalities to the north-west of Bangui, which have been targets of attacks by armed groups.
ChimpReports understands that fighting has been raging over the last few weeks with rebels showing all intentions to capture Bangui.
Rwanda, which maintains a seizable force in CAR under the UN mission this past week mobilised special forces units to rush to the war-torn country.
Rwanda’s Defence Ministry said the deployment was “in response to the targeting of the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) contingent under the UN Peacekeeping force by rebels supported by François Bozize.”
Kigali said Rwandan troops will “also contribute to ensure a peaceful and secure general elections scheduled on Sunday 27 December 2020, twenty-two months after the peace agreement which was reached between the government and fourteen armed groups.”
Commenting on the deployment this morning, Rwandan President Paul Kagame said
the attackers led by former president Bozize were targeting Rwanda UN contingent forces because they’ve been uncompromising.
“The new force (in CAR) will have different rules of engagement,” warned Kagame.
“Their mandate is to protect our forces and civilians in IDPs who are being protected by our police personnel,” he emphasised.
“We shall contain any group that wants to cause harm to our forces or disrupt elections in CAR,” said Kagame.
CAR leaders have for the last five years been struggling to restore stability to the area.
The Central African Republic govermment said Russia and Rwandan soldiers were battling the rebels advancing onto Bangui.
CAR President Faustin-Archange Touadera is a Russian ally, a relationship often seen as a threat to France’s influence in the French-speaking country where Paris had deployed 2,500 troops until 2016.
Bozize,74, a military general, recently returned to the country to contest in presidential elections.
His presidential bid was blocked by courts of law, a decision he pledged to respect.
Bozize was removed from power in 2013 by light-armed Seleka rebels drawn largely from the Muslim minority.
The Seleka fighters embarked on revenge killings of Christians, leading to the formation of Anti-Balaka self protection forces.
France responded by sending military forces to CAR hence restoring sanity.
However, Russia has in recent years maintained a strong presence of military forces in CAR.
The president is guarded by Russian mercenaries.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on all those involved in the political process to resolve any dispute peacefully, “in accordance with the constitution and in the interests of the Central African people who have suffered for too long from violence and instability “. Guterres also called on the signatory parties to the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation, signed in February 2019, to strictly implement it and to refrain from any action that could jeopardize national stability and the holding of elections.
CAR authorities have been implementing
the Disarmament, Demobilization, Reintegration and Repatriation (DDRR) process whereby weapons are physically removed from ex-belligerents, armed groups are disbanded, and former combatants are reintegrated into civilian society.