Armed ViolenceNews

CAR Rebels Take Bambouti Mayor Hostage

Combatants of the rebel Unite pour la Paix en Centrafrique (UPC) movement last week invaded the sub-prefecture of Bambouti, situated about 1,429 kilometres from the capital Bangui.

According to  Jean-Bernard Gbissigui,  the member of parliament for Bambouti, the mayor of the town, Ms Anne-Marie Siokani, was taken hostage by the rebel fighters and has remained in captivity.

Shortly after the arrival of the UPC fighters in the town, a unit of South Sudanese self-defence fighters also arrived in the town and took on the UPC fighters. Reports say a UPC general was killed in the clashes, sources said

Those in Bambouti told HumAngle last evening that a few days ago, UPC rebel fighters based on the South Sudanese border invaded a small locality inside South Sudan which also shares the boundary with the Central African Republic.

The UPC invaders are reported to have killed the head of the health centre in the locality and razed down several houses in the South Sudanese village before discretely withdrawing back to Bambouti.

Twenty-four hours afterwards, South Sudanese self-defence militiamen launched a reprisal attack against military positions of the UPC in Bambouti wounding several persons and destroying goods and houses. 

The attack also forced several UPC fighters to escape into the bushes.

Meanwhile, the mayor of Bambouti, Anne-Marie Siokani, who courageously decided not to quit the town in spite of the heavy fighting, was unfortunately kidnapped by the UPC rebels who took her away and have since deserted their base in the town and gone to an unknown destination with the mayor.

Earlier reports that the mayor was being held hostage in her official residence have since been debunked by reliable sources in the town.

Up until Thursday evening, the government had done nothing to remedy the situation especially at this time when national legislative and presidential elections are exactly one month away on December 27.

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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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