Armed ViolenceNews

117 Central African Republic Soldiers Flee To Cameroon

One hundred and seventeen soldiers of the Central African Republic national army, popularly known by its French acronym FACA, have within the past week gone AWOL (absent without leave) and found their way to neighbouring Cameroon.

According to a reliable UN High Commissioner for Refugees source, the 117 FACA soldiers are all reported to have crossed the border into Cameroon on December 23,  carrying along their military equipment. 

They were all disarmed at the border town of Garoua-Boulai in the East Region by Cameroonian security officials before being taken charge by the Cameroon military, the source said.

HumAngle also learnt that besides the soldiers, about 1,600 Central African Republic civilians also crossed the border to Cameroon at the same time. 

Some of the civilians who spoke to our reporter said with the approach of legislative and presidential elections which held on Sunday, December 27, they were afraid there would be a spike in violence thus endangering their lives.

It should be recalled that Central Africans went to the polls Sunday to elect a new legislative assembly and to choose a president from among 16 candidates.

However, with two thirds of the country in the hands of rebels who called for a postponement of the elections, actual voting took place only in the capital Bangui and Berberati.

Opposition parties on their part went to the elections in dispersed ranks and their most serious candidate Francois Bozize was prohibited from taking part in the election.

Former Prime Minister Anicet Georges Dologuélé who was another serious candidate called for a boycott of the elections.

Current head of state, Faustin Archange Touadera, stood for reelection and decided to go ahead with the elections against the wishes of most political actors of the opposition who had called for a postponement of the elections.

The initial results are expected to be announced by January 4, 2021 and final results on January 19, 2021 if a second round is not necessary. 

Should there be the necessity for a second round if no candidate wins an outright majority, it would be held on February 14, 2021.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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