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CAR Rebels Leader Ali Darassa Accused Of Expansionist Ambitions

After over-running Ouaka, Lower Kotto and Upper Mbomou provinces, the leader of the Central African Republic rebel group, Unite pour la Paix (UPC), self-proclaimed “General” Ali Darassa, is being accused of having military ambitions for Upper Kotto prefecture.

The suspicion follows declarations and demands he made during a three-day visit to Bria, the main town of Upper Kotto, last weekend.

During the visit, Darassa held meetings with officers of the armed groups in Bria and called for the replacement of Aba Tom, the regional commander, popularly known as Comzone of the Popular Front for the Rebirth of Central Africa known by its French abbreviation, FPRC, 

This demand has led to tension among the armed groups in the region who rejected the call for the replacement of Tom, a Peul native.

During a meeting which Darassa organised for ‘generals’ of the armed groups in the provincial capital of Upper Kotto, he said he was the only guarantor of the Bria peace accord signed in March by different armed groups which clashed in the town at the beginning of the year.

According to Darassa, (a non-Central African said to be of Chado-Nigerien nationality), since the signing of the Bria peace accord, certain ‘generals’ of the FPRC, including Tom,  had not given him proper recognition.

He said the  ‘generals’ had not been respecting the Bria accord because of which he called for their immediate replacement. 

He thus called for the replacement of Tom with Ahamat Seniss, a Chadian, going by the nom de guerre of General Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa States. This, he said, had to be done before he left Bria.

The suggestion by Darassa was rejected by the local military leadership of the FPRC who viewed it as provocative.

Reliable sources within the armed groups are of the opinion that Darassa wants to militarily take over the mineral town of Bria before taking over Zacko, all of which are very rich in gold and diamonds.

“Even if the man is not doing that by strategy, he may engage his men to militarily confront those who are here in Bria, ” an officer of the Central African Patriotic Movement said after meeting with Darassa.

The central, south and southeast regions of the Central African Republic have been under the control of the UPC rebel group led by Darassa for several years.

It is feared that if Darassa and his UPC combatants succeed in controlling the north-central and northeast regions of the country, they may become too powerful in the Central African state which is 75 per cent controlled by armed groups.

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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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