Armed ViolenceNews

Community Challenges CAR Army Generals Over Alleged Land Grabbing

The people of Mpoko Ngomon, a community in Bimbo Council behind Cattin/Boeing quarters, near Parc Samba,  about 10km from Bangui, on October 18, 2020, jumped into the streets in protest against some Central African Republic army generals for alleged illegal land grabbing.

Some of those accused are Gen. Alfred Service, alias Lapadjo, Gen. Galouti as well as the Minister of Defense, Marie-Noelle Koyara.

Eyewitness accounts reveal that some weeks ago, 10 military vehicles full of heavily-armed soldiers descended on the community with topography equipment.

“Without any documents and without following the legal procedures inherent in such operations, nor staff of the titular ministry of lands and surveys, they started mapping out parcels of land belonging to individuals.

“Some days after, these same generals led by a former soldier of the national army brought road tracing equipment and a bulldozer. Against the backdrop of protests by the population that gathered at the site, they ordered the bulldozer to create a road in the area where they had seized private plots of land,” a young man who witnessed the situation told HumAngle.

“At this stage, the population decided to block the bulldozer from carrying out the bulldozing of the area thus blocking access to the seized parcels of land. 

“Faced by the huge crowd of people, the army generals, escorted by several foot soldiers, tried to appease the population by telling them that whatever work they had carried out in the area was authorised by the Central African head of state, Faustin Archange Touadera. ‘It is official and legal’, they told the furious population, ” the source said.

‘The generals went ahead to sort of intimidate the people by saying whatever action they took would be fruitless as they were so “small to defeat the state,” the source added.

The generals said if the people wanted to recuperate their land, they had to reimburse the amount of money spent on the work carried out on the parcels of land which they put at several millions of FCFA, according to the source.

As of the time of writing this report, the situation remained tense and no negotiations were being held to find a lasting solution to the problem as the two camps continued to hold to their grounds.

Meanwhile, HumAngle learnt that some Chinese found some important mineral deposits within the zone which is why the generals want to claim it in order to demand heavy sums of money from the Chinese by way of royalties.

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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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