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Central African Republic Citizens Lament School Occupation By Mercenaries In Batangafo

Russian mercenaries who assisted in the liberation of Batangafo town from rebels have converted a school in the town to their base, to locals’ discomfort.

Residents of Batangafo town in the Ouham-Fafa district of the Central African Republic have expressed concerns over the occupation of the town’s school by Russian mercenaries from the Wagner group.

Batangafo town was recaptured from Mouvement Patriotique pour la Centrafrique (MPC) rebels, led by Chadian national, Mahamat Alkhatim, last week.

The arrival of the national army, FACA, and its Rwandan and Russian allies conjured an explosion of joy among the town’s population.

However, less than 24 hours after the arrival of the Russians into the town, the local population is discovering that their happiness was misplaced.

“Just a few hours after the Russians arrived here, they quickly transformed the houses of some individuals and the sub-divisional school into their base,” said one of the residents who did not want to be named for his safety.

“The tables, chairs and other equipment in the school have been destroyed or turned into firewood by the mercenaries of Wagner security. This has seriously angered the parents, students, and teachers of the school.” the aggrieved resident said, adding that the government should do something immediately to stop the looting.

According to other sources, the Russian mercenaries are also looting shops in the town.

“They have not been sparing shops as they have looted almost everything from the shops in the town.”

“I saw them looting shops in the presence of their proprietors who were inside the shops,” a Batangafo lady inhabitant who gave her name as Michelle, told HumAngle.

“As concerns the classrooms, they are still occupying them. Right now, classes are not going on because the students have nowhere to sit and the school has been closed.”

As in several cases involving the misbehaviour of the Russian mercenaries, the government in Bangui seems powerless or lacks the courage to confront their Russian allies or to stop them from behaving like an occupation force.

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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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