Armed ViolenceNews

CAR Army Takes Over Private Vehicles For Use In Military Operations

The Central African Republic government has officially instructed the security forces in the national capital Bangui to take-over privately-owned vehicles, especially pick-ups in good condition and deposit them at the Research and Investigation section at the security headquarters.

According to official security sources in Bangui, the measure is intended to ease the work of the national army. The vehicles are also for use by Russian and Rwandan mercenaries currently helping the armed forces as they fight against the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), HumAngle has learnt.

Ten vehicles were consequently, on Monday, Jan. 25, seized and parked in the Research and Investigation section office in Bangui.

The owners and drivers of the vehicles were told their vehicles would be used in the deployment of Russian and Rwandan mercenaries as well as the country’s soldiers on the war front, for two weeks.

“Most of the persons whose vehicles have been requisitioned have expressed their anger at the move by the government and some have indicated they would resort to legal action in order to retrieve their vehicles,” a civil society activist who opted for anonymity told HumAngle in Bangui Tuesday evening.

“Some of the vehicle owners have however resigned themselves to the fate indicating there is nothing they can do against the government soldiers.”

But the action did not go down well with a number of affected vehicles’ owners as they expressed surprise at why their vehicles would be taken over by the army without their consent.

“They were supposed to first of all ask for our consent, which they did not. They just arrested us like that and took us to the Research and Investigation section where our vehicles were seized without us knowing why. Honestly, our country is cursed”, one of the persons whose pick-up vehicle was seized told HumAngle.

“Is that what a state of emergency is all about? What is this really? The minister of defence and the minister of public security should open their eyes to see what is happening,” another affected person said.

The ministers concerned were not immediately available for comments on the development.

“Nobody is talking. It is total silence in the concerned ministries. Even the Prime Minister has given no explanation to the affected persons. This is unfortunate,” one journalist told HumAngle in Bangui.

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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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