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Central African Republic Soldiers Flee Border As Tension With Chad Mounts

The desertion in border towns is due to fear of retaliation from Chad after CAR mercenaries killed Chadian soldiers.

Central African Republic soldiers based in Kolo village, 25 kilometres from Ngaoundaye, and in other localities on the border with Chad, have deserted their positions for fear of possible retaliatory attacks by the Chadian army.

This development comes on the heels of the Sunday May 30, 2021 attack on the Chadian locality of Sourou allegedly by Russian mercenaries fighting alongside Central African Republic soldiers in which six Chadians were killed.

“The village of Kolo as well as the town of Ngaoundaye are virtually empty as most of the population has fled to neighbouring localities,”  said a political activist who refused to give his name for fear of reprisals told HumAngle in Ngaoundaye, Tuesday evening.

“Soldiers of the national army who had been holding the fort have also disappeared into thin air.”

“There is no doubt this development follows the hard language used by the Chadian government following the attack on Sourou which has sent fear and panic within the ranks of the FACA soldiers and the local populations in the border areas.”

The psychosis of fear and panic is not limited only to the border towns and villages as other localities have been living under very precarious conditions following incessant attacks by combatants of the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC).

“The security situation is very volatile coupled with the tension on the Central African Republic-Chad border all of which have affected daily life in the affected zones,” he added.

A military source blamed the absence of FACA soldiers in their base in Kolo on the fact that “there are very few of our soldiers in Kolo so it became necessary for the soldiers in Kolo to be moved to Ndim to join their colleagues there.” 

“Stationing soldiers in dispersed locations is not advisable and is in fact discouraged by military tacticians,” a senior FACA officer revealed.

Meanwhile, economic activities in Ngaoundaye are at a halt as is the case in Bang and Kolo. On the contrary, normal life is gradually returning to Ndim after last Wednesday’s attack on FACA positions by CPC rebels.

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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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