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Central African Republic Soldiers Solicit Citizen Support Against Russian Mercenaries

FACA soldiers are appealing to citizens to support them in addressing the behavior of Russian mercenaries in the country.

The soldiers of the Central African Republic national army, FACA, have called on the local population of Bouca town, to help them combat the excesses of the Russian mercenaries of the Wagner security group.

The plea by the soldiers is coming one week after the arrest and murder of Lt. Amady Jeremy of FACA by the Russian mercenaries on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021 in Bouca town.

A sub officer in Batangafo, chief town of the Ouham-Fafa prefecture who pleaded for anonymity said the soldiers are calling on Central African Republic citizens for assistance against the recalcitrant Russians.

He said the FACA soldiers have condemned the behavior of the Wagner Security Group operatives whom they accuse of “attacking us, stealing from us and raping us and sometimes even throwing us into prison for no reasons.”

“All we can do right now is to call on the population for assistance.

“They can help us to get out of this open air prison in which we live now. We on our part cannot do anything since the Russian mercenaries treat directly with the head of state. Even the high command of our army can do nothing,” the sub officer said. 

“If we attempt talking, they would treat us as trouble-makers and enemies of the regime.”

According to the distraught soldier, “the only solution now is the population.”

“If the population demands the departure of the Wagner Security Group from the Central African Republic, that can perhaps have an echo with the regime, but for now, our leaders are also taken hostage,” he added. 

He said the biggest problem they have with the Russian mercenaries is “understanding.”

“The Wagner Security men do not understand us. Besides the linguistic barrier, they treat us as nobodies, may be even as their slaves. If we come back from a patrol, for example, they force us to empty our pockets in order to give their own share of the money we supposedly extorted from our people.”

Another soldier, a sub-lieutenant, narrated how the Russians pressured them to part with their belongings.

“In their minds, they think we’re only go out on operations to kill rebels, search them, take their belongings, or sometimes hold up shops in the quarters so we must give their own share of the booty, without which they would create problems for us or put us in a plane and take us to prison in Bangui,” declared the FACA sub lieutenant.

These behaviours by the Russian mercenaries have been allegedly condemned by almost the entirety of soldiers of the Central African Republic national army.

“We thought these men came to help us, but their behaviour is quite the contrary. Sometimes, during combat operations, they push us in front of their men to serve as human shields,” said another FACA officer detached to Bouar.

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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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