Armed ViolenceNews

More Than 1,300 Civilians Killed By UPC Rebels In CAR Between 2016 And 2020

Despite their atrocities against civilians, especially war crimes, Union for Peace in the Central African Republic (UPC) rebels are yet to face prosecution.

More than 1,300 civilians were killed by rebels of the Union for Peace in the Central African Republic (UPC) led by self-proclaimed General Ali Darrassa between 2016 and 2020.

According to information gleaned from reports by United Nations experts and documents forwarded to the United Nations Secretary-General, this number did not include several unidentified persons who died in bushes, refugees, and displaced persons forced to abandon their homes because of exactions by UPC rebels.

Other crimes committed by the UPC rebels who now fight for the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) include wounds inflicted on innocent civilians, violation of human rights, looting of crops and cattle, imposition and collection of illegal taxes from business people and transporters, and looting of mineral resources.

Available records revealed that 389 civilians were killed in 2017, 133 in 2018, 211 in 2019 and 10 in 2020 in attacks by the UPC rebels or clashes involving them.

Besides all these atrocities, in July 2020, UPC combatants blocked the road in Bokolobo, preventing the circulation of election officials and resulting in a rupture in basic commodities for several days.

The UPC elements on August 10, 2020, blocked access to polling stations in Zemio and other localities. On August 11, 2020, the rebels stole electoral materials from election officials deployed in Ndassima and chased them away.

On August 13, 2020, UPC rebel fighters killed a businessman in Zemio and abducted a team of medical personnel who were vaccinating the population against measles.

Despite these crimes, none of the UPC leaders including Ali Darrassa has been charged to court to answer for their crimes, neither are they under UN sanctions.

A non-exhaustive list of the crimes committed by the UPC rebels includes:

–  On July 4, 2016, in Bambari, internal clashes within the UPC itself led to the deaths of 14 civilians in the crossfire;

–  On September 12, 2016, six persons were killed in UPC attacks between Kouango and Bianga;

–  In October 2016 in Grimari, six gendarmes and four civilians were killed in the UPC ambush;

–  October 15, 2016, in Ngakobo, the UPC attacked a camp of displaced persons killing 13 civilians;

–  October 27, 2016, 15 civilians were killed in clashes between the UPC and another armed group in Mbriki and Belima;

–  November 21, 2016, 115 persons were killed in clashes between the UPC, the Popular Front for the Rebirth of the Central African Republic (FPRC) and two other rebel groups;

–  December 12, 2016, 200 civilians died in clashes between the UPC, RPRC, UFRC and MLJC rebel groups in Bakala;

–  February 2017, 20 persons were killed in clashes at a mining site in Ndassima between UPC and FPRC fighters;

–       February 15, 2017, the UPC razed down the village of Makili killing an unknown number of civilians;

–  March 9, 2017, UPC rebels killed an unknown number of civilians during an attack on Grao, 70 kilometres to the southeast of Bria;

–  March 21, 2017, the UPC attacked Yassine town killing eighteen civilians;

–  May 9,  2017, one hundred and thirty civilians died in clashes between UPC rebels and AB fighters in Alindao.

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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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