Armed ViolenceNews

Central African Republic: Voluntary Disarmament Continues As Over 600 Hand In Arms

Auto defense groups and civilians have continued to hand in their weapons within the context of a voluntary disarmament programme in the Central African Republic.

According to sources in the Ministry of Disarmament, as at Thursday October 22, 2020, at least six hundred persons, including 400 elements of auto defense groups have voluntarily handed in their arms in the third sub-division of Bangui, the capital.

The said arms voluntarily handed over include tens of automatic guns, 104 bullets and three shells.

“There is time for everything: a time for war, a time for peace and another time to build the nation. As long as we are the children of this country, it is our responsibility to have a new look at things. 

“The Central African people have suffered a lot, thus we have deemed it necessary to come and make this voluntary handing over of arms”, declared Abakar Zacaria, Secretary General of the auto defense group of Yassimandji quarter in the third sub-division of Bangui.

Abakar Zacaria revealed that henceforth, the former Zone Commanders popularly known by the acronym “Comzone” would be called “Peace Ambassadors”.

For Mohamed Ahamat, a representative of an auto defense group located in Kilometre 5, “it is henceforth useless to fight in the country”, especially in the third sub-division of Bangui, the capital.

“I no longer want to touch arms, that is why I have returned them so that peace can return to the Central African Republic”, Mohamed Ahamat declared.

After surrendering their arms, thirty young members of auto defense groups were registered and asked to say precisely what they would want to do with their lives after demobilization.

The Minister of Disarmament, Maxime Mokome, revealed that it is important for the ex-combatants to find their place in society and for each one of them to find something to do that would help them take care of their children.

“Yesterday, you were counted among the people destroying the country. Today, you are counted among those who must construct the country. From today, there should be no longer the sound of gunshots in Kilometre 5. 

“It is better for us to dialogue among ourselves. I promise you as youths, that I would do my utmost best to ensure that you find your place in society and that each one of you finds something to do to enable you take care of your children”, the minister declared.

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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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