Gender & SGBVNews

CAR Russian Mercenaries In Another Sexual Violence Scandal

Cases of Sexual violence by Russian mercenaries in the Central African Republic on girls are on the rise, but the government has not taken action against culprits.

Russian mercenaries of the Wagner security company in the Central African Republic have once again been accused of sexual violence.

On Tuesday, March 2, a girl was raped in the village of Boukoko, situated 12 kilometres from Mbaiki on the Boda highway in the prefecture of Lobaye.

“One of the most recent cases involves Chantale, a 17-year-old girl who was raped by Russian mercenaries in Boukoko. Chantale had been out with friends and after drinking some palm wine, she was on her way home when she was attacked by the Russians and raped repeatedly,” a local source told HumAngle.

Mercenaries of the Russian Wagner group arrived in CAR following a bilateral agreement between both countries. Unfortunately, incidents of sexual violence perpetrated by the Russian mercenaries on girls in Central African Republic citizens have been on the rise.

The villages where most of the sexual violence has been taking place are those recently recaptured from rebel groups by CAR soldiers known as FACA, assisted by their Russian and Rwandan allies.

“Since January this year, there has been an escalation of sexual violence against girls by the Russian mercenaries and though the parents of the violated girls are becoming more and more courageous in reporting the cases to the gendarmes and police, hardly any of the accused persons have been arrested, not to talk of being prosecuted for the offences,” the source said.

Only a few of the victims have been able to report their ordeals in the hands of the Russian mercenaries but the government in Bangui has not been able to bring the culprits to book.

“We are faced with a situation here where less than 10 per cent of those sexually assaulted are able to summon the courage of reporting the abuses to the relevant authorities,” said a resident of Bangui who did not want to be named for security reasons.

“Most of our girls who are raped are threatened with death by their rapists, so most of them remain silent after the heinous crimes against them.”

“The Slavs who constitute the bulk of the Russian mercenaries are always very trigger happy so the locals are very much afraid of them. But the majority of our people insist that these crimes against the citizens of this country must not remain unpunished,” the angry residents noted.

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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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