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Controversy Brews Over Release Of Anti-Balaka Rebel Leader Who Killed UN Soldiers

Central African Republic citizens are agitated over the sudden appearance of a rebel leader arrested and detained in 2018

There is growing disquiet in the Central African Republic following the sudden appearance of Jean Francis Diandi, alias Ramazani, warlord of the Anti-Balaka rebel movement, in the Central African Republic who was arrested on Friday, March 16, 2018.

Diandi was arrested during an operation led by the United Nations Organisation Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), in Bria within the district of Upper Kotto.

He had been accused of numerous crimes including the assassination of two Blue Helmets of Mauritanian and Moroccan nationalities in 2017.

The anti-Balaka chieftain was eventually detained in the Ngaragba prison facility while awaiting his trial.

But he has been seen within the past days among fighters of the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC).

Members of the civil society organisations have been asking questions as to how he regained his freedom despite the heinous crimes he has been accused of.

According to MINUSCA, Diandi was arrested on the demand of the Central African Republic government.

“Incarcerated in the Ngaragba prison since 2017, he was finally freed in December 2020 by a Central African high court. We do not know the reasons behind the liberation of the war criminal but the matter is causing grave concern within the local populations in Bria,” a MINUSCA official declared Wednesday in Bangui.

“That man is very dangerous and is not supposed to be walking free among the people,” a civil society activist in Bria who opted for anonymity for fear of reprisals told HumAngle in Bria last evening.

“He should be in prison. Whoever ordered his release should be arrested along with him.”

Contacted for any possible explanation for his release, a judge in the Bangui high court said he had no idea as to how the man was released.

“Since the creation of the Coalition of Patriots for Change, (CPC) in Dec. last year, that man has been seen within the ranks of CPC combatants,” Panza August, a political analyst told HumAngle Wednesday.

“It would appear the forces that ordered his release have something to do with the former Bozize regime. They surely wanted him to join the CPC combatants fighting to overthrow the Touadera government in Bangui and re-install Bozize in his place.” 

Senior officials in the Central African Republic justice ministry said Ramazani is responsible for several serious violations of international humanitarian law within the displaced person camp in Bria and crimes against humanity including the Dec. 4, 2017 attack on UN soldiers.

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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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