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6 Chadian Soldiers Die After Clash With Russian Mercenaries

The Central African Republic government has remained silent after an attack on Chadian soldiers by CAR’s Russian allies.

A clash between the Chadian Armed Forces and Russian mercenaries in the Chadian village of Bitoye, 25 kilometres from the border with the Central African Republic, has left six Chadians dead.

The clash on Sunday, May 30, 2021, according to eyewitnesses, took place around 4 a.m. when Russian mercenaries of the Wagner Security Group who have been fighting alongside the Central African Republic national army entered Chadian territory in the sub-district of Bitoye and raided a Chadian Army advance post held by 17 soldiers in Sourou near Mbere in Mont de Lam division.

“The Russian mercenaries killed one Chadian soldier, wounded five others and took five others prisoners whom they eventually executed in Mbang in the Central African Republic forcing the Chadian army to violently retaliate right into Central African Republic territory,” a local source in Mbang told HumAngle.

Sources in Cameroon informed HumAngle that the Russian mercenaries attempted escaping into Cameroon due to the possibility of a furious retaliation by the Chadian soldiers.

They were, however, promptly pushed back into Central African Republic territory by soldiers of the Cameroonian elite Rapid Intervention Battalion.

“The Chadian army in pursuit of the Russian mercenaries entered Central African Republic territory in Mbang. Russian mercenaries who could not withstand the Chadian firepower withdrew to the sub-district of Ngaoundaye,” the source revealed.

A statement by the Chadian Army on the development claimed that the Russians suffered a heavy defeat. 

“Operation against the Russian army in the southeast of the country: Heavy defeat inflicted by the Chadian army on mercenaries from the neighbouring Central African Republic. Details later,” the statement declared.

According to a communique by the Chadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Russian mercenary action is “a war crime of extreme gravity. It is a premeditated murderous attack, planned and operated on Chadian territory.”

The communique called on the Chadian Ambassador in the Central African Republic to contact the Central African Republic government so as to find and repatriate the bodies of the five Chadian soldiers executed by the Russians adding that the crime would not go unpunished.

Although the Central African Republic government was yet to issue an official statement, sources close to the government said senior government operatives have rather been supporting the action of the Russian mercenaries.

One Chadian activist even accused the Russian mercenaries of being implicated in the death of former Chadian leader Idriss Deby Itno.

“They want to try the same thing against his son who has taken over power. If they do, they will see what they want. Chad’s right of pursuit would take it far into Central African Republic territory,” the Chadian activist who declined to identify himself declared.

“I believe that henceforth, the Wagner mercenaries would no longer try to cross the border into Chad or Cameroon,” said one Central African Republic political observer.

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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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