Armed ViolenceNews

14 Central African Soldiers Go AWOL To Join Former Rebel Groups

14 Central African soldiers who have disappeared from the army are suspected to have gone back to their former rebel groups.

14 soldiers of the Central African Republic national army, FACA, have been reported missing from their ranks since last week.

According to the army high command, the missing soldiers were attached to the seventh Territorial Infantry Brigade (TIB 7) which was created only a few months ago and based in a camp to the north entrance of the capital Bangui.

The seventh TIB is made up mostly of ex-combatants who were disarmed and demobilized before being integrated into the Central African Republic national army, FACA.

The soldiers who have gone AWOL (absent without leave) had been incorporated into the TIB 7 early this year.

No official reason has as yet been advanced for their disappearance but information gathered from within the ranks of the military intelligence service indicate that the 14 combatants have gone to rejoin their former rebel colleagues in the marquis.

“Some of the 14 soldiers have returned to their former rebel groups while some say they would rather engage in commercial activities than remain in the national army,” a civil society source in Banui told HumAngle.

This is not the first time former rebels who were integrated into the national army under the demobilization and reintegration programme have returned into the marquis.

About a year ago, Abdel Ambossoro, a former gendarmerie company commander of the Popular Front for the Renaissance of Central Africa (FRPC) rebel group in Bria, chief town of the Haute-Kotto prefecture who had benefited from the disarmament and reintegration programme abandoned the training camp he was attached to and went into hiding in KM5 on the periphery of the capital Bangui.

He was eventually captured in Sibut, more than 180 kilometres from Bangui and returned to the capital where he was detained but afterwards released and is currently living as a free citizen in KM5 in the third district of Bangui, the capital.

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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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