Central African Republic Gov’t Seeks New Ways To Defeat Armed Groups

President Faustin Archange Touadera and his cabinet are thinking of other ways to defeat armed groups growing stronger and wreaking havoc.

Authorities in the Central African Republic are looking for ways to contain rebel groups under the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC). This is because of the Russian mercenaries and the national army, FACA’s, failure to confront the rebels. 

HumAngle understands that President Faustin Archange Touadera held a secret meeting last weekend in Damara, a town in Ombella-M’Poko, with some legislators, heads of some security services, and leaders of the Russian mercenaries. They discussed a new security deal between the Bangui regime and the Russians.

Sources at the meeting said President Touadera called on his collaborators to reflect and bring up proposals on how best to integrate the Peuls into the national army.

The Russians are asking President Touadera to elaborate a new plan in which a sizeable number of rebels who lay down their arms, especially from the Peul ethnic group, could be coopted into the armed forces.

“This is the only option that can enable FACA to have a robust fighting force worthy of the name,” a military source said.

Some officers within the military high command believe that the president should hatch a new plan to create division and confusion within the armed groups and harvest dissident fighters in the fray. 

A top military official said the Russian-Ukraine war also impacted the Russian mercenaries in the Central African Republic. 

“The not very impressive performances of Russian troops in the war against Ukraine has an impact on their counterparts in the Central African Republic where the possibility of some of the fighters in the country being withdrawn to go fight in Ukraine is having a debilitating effect on the morale of the Russian mercenaries in the Central African Republic,” the source said. 

“The fear among the Wagner Security operatives in the Central African Republic of being withdrawn and sent to Ukraine has made some of them lose the urge to give their best. As a result, morale is very low, and the CPC rebels are taking advantage of that.”

“The CPC rebels have advanced on the capital and this has been wreaking havoc on the fighting spirit of both the Russian mercenaries and the FACA soldiers.”

The Central African Republic national army, FACA, has recently been deserting its positions due to the firepower of CPC and 3R rebels.

“In some cases, many FACA soldiers have gone AWOL (absence without leave) even before their positions are attacked,” the source said.

According to President Touadera, last week, an attack by CPC rebels against a patrol of FACA soldiers about 30 km from Bambari resulted in the deaths of eight FACA soldiers. 

Military high commands deployed two helicopters belonging to the Russian mercenaries to give a helping hand, but before they arrived at the scene, the rebels had left.

“This situation seriously shocked President Touadera as well as the Russian mercenaries planting a psychosis of fear and panic within the presidential fold as well as the military high command,” a military source that requested anonymity told HumAngle.

Sources within Wagner Security say that despite efforts at training and retraining the FACA soldiers, they are still unable to meet the challenges the rebels face.

“They cannot put up for even five minutes in the face of a rebel attack,” a Wagner official said.

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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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