Central African Republic-Based Nigerian Warlord Accused Of Working Against Peace

Rebel leader, Ali Darassa Mahamat has been accused of working against peace in the restive Central African Republic (CAR). 

The allegation was laid by Martin Ziguele, the President of the Movement for the Liberation of the Peoples of Central African Republic (Mouvement de libération du peuple centrafricain) MLPC and Member of Parliament for Bocaranga III constituency.

Mahamat, a self-proclaimed warlord known differently as Ali Nassaraza Darassa, Ali Daras or Ali Ndaras is a Nigerian leader of the Central African rebel group Union for Peace in the Central African Republic (UPC) which is dominant around Bambari. 

He is a Fula and his UPC is largely made up of Fulas.

In a declaration to newsmen on Sunday August 2, 2020 Ziguele revealed that after the signing in Bangui on July 30, 2020 of an accord negotiated behind closed doors. 

It was between Mahamat and the Central African government as well as the facilitators of the Political Accord for Peace and Reconciliation in CAR, he retracted from the accord on August 1, without any formality.

Reacting, Hon. Ziguele said, “This means that he no longer recognizes the engagements he just entered into. 

“That constitutes an umpteenth rebound in the attempts to resolve this crisis imposed on our country by the armed groups in general and the UPC of Ali Darassa in particular. 

“The position of the MLPC is clear and unequivocal that Ali Darassa should be immediately arrested and tried so that he would answer to the numerous crimes he has committed against the people of the Central African Republic.

“It should be recalled that Ali Darassa continues to occupy whole regions in the Centre and Southeast of our country and maintains the populations in slavery in our villages and towns such as Bambari, Bria, Mingala, Bakala, Alindao, Kongbo, Mobaye, Zangba, Bangassou, Zemio, Rafai, Obo and Bambouti. 

“It should also be recalled that Ali Darassa and his men have on two occasions attacked Bambari with the objective of preventing the government from celebrating the World Food Day, leaving several orphans wounded”, Hon. Ziguela revealed.

The Member of Parliament also revealed that the attacks by Darassa’s fighters were very well coordinated against the Catholic Church in Bambari, Alindao and Kongbo. 

It led to the assassination of some members of the clergy including Rev. Fr. Firmin Gbagoua, the Vicar General of Bakbari, Rev. Fr. Joseph Desire Angbabata, Cure of Seko, Rev. Fr. Blaise Prosper Mada, Vicar General of Alindao and Rev. Fr. Celestin Ngoumbango, Cure of Kongbo.

Hon. Ziguele condemned the idea that Ali Darassa and his men returned to Bambari which was declared “an arms-free town” by the government and international forces in 2018. 

He added that the idea sends a negative message to the traumatised populations of Bambari and the zones under the occupation of the UPC in the Centre and East of the country.

“At a moment when our army in concert with international forces, are heroically fighting on the ground at the peril of their lives, against armed groups, what message does such an idea of reinstallation (of UPC fighters) send to the people?” he asked.

According to the MLPC, the resolution of the crises in the Central African Republic must necessarily come through the arrest without preconditions and without further delay of Ali Darassa, Mahamat Alkhatim and Sidiki Abbas and their trial before a court of law.

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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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