Moroccan UN Contingent Accused Of Aiding Rebels In Central African Republic

The Morocco soldiers, who were in Aug. 2020 accused of similar infringements have been told to vacate the town pending the conclusion of an investigation.

Moroccan soldiers serving with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) have been accused of helping rebels of the Unity for Peace in (UPC) in organising and planning  attacks in Mbomou, situated in the Haut-Mbomou prefecture.

“The authorities of Haut-Mbomou, especially the sub prefect, notables, parliamentarians and the population of Mbomou accuse the Moroccan soldiers of colluding with UPC rebels to whom they are accused of furnishing foodstuff and other means of subsistence,” a civil society activist told HumAngle on Tuesday.

“They are also suspected of having helped the UPC rebels organise the looting and burning of shops in the town. The entire community in Haut-Mbomou have called for the departure of the Moroccan soldiers from their prefecture.”

On Monday, July 26, 2021, the town of Obo, situated to the far southeast of the country was shaken by heavy and light arm detonations which occasioned the razing down of several shops and the deaths of two persons, one of whom was a soldier of the national army, popularly known as FACA.

The MINUSCA high command announced that the town was attacked by UPC rebels and that the attack was repelled by FACA forces supported by the Blue Helmets of MINUSCA.

However, on Tuesday, July 27, the sub-prefect of Obo publicly announced that the attack was simulated by soldiers of the Moroccan contingent of the UN Blue Helmets. 

He said the UPC rebels could not have carried out such an attack.

This declaration by the sub-prefect was followed by a massive demonstration of over 10,000 persons calling for the departure of the Moroccan soldiers from Obo, chief town of the Haut-Mbomou prefecture.

Parliamentarians of Haut-Mbomou during a meeting in Bangui, on their part have published a communique calling for a parliamentary investigation into the affair and demanded the immediate departure of the Moroccan soldiers from the Haut-Mbomou prefecture and an increase in the number of national army soldiers deployed in the prefecture. 

They also called for the augmentation of the military material allocated to soldiers in the prefecture to permit them to meet up with the challenges of repeated attacks by UPC rebels, planned and organised by Moroccan soldiers of the MINUSCA.

The recent attacks came almost a year after similar attacks on Aug. 13, 2020 when three businessmen from Haut-Mbomou returning from Sudan were ambushed by a group of heavily-armed UPC rebels in Bambouti.

The rebels killed one of the three businessmen while the two others escaped  into the bushes.

At the time, irate business people publicly demonstrated against the criminal acts perpetrated by elements of the UPC rebel movement in Haut-Mbomou.

The parliamentarian of the First Obo Constituency in a declaration on October 19, 2020 following the killing of the businessman, accused the Moroccan contingent of MINUSCA of working in connivance with the UPC rebels.

According to him, minutes before the assassination of the young businessman by the UPC rebels, soldiers of the Moroccan contingent of MINUSCA who left Obo carrying a team of vaccinators to Zemio, met the same UPC rebels about 30 kilometres from Obo on the Zemio highway and against all expectations, descended from their armoured car and gave food and water to the UPC rebels as the Mboki parliamentarian, Ernest Mizedio, who was in the convoy escorted by MINUSCA, watched in disbelief.

The incident was also witnessed by some staff of the national elections authority who were travelling from Mboki as well as vaccination agents who were on their way to Zemio.

For parliamentarian Ernest Mizedio, there is no doubt that the Moroccan soldiers attached to MINUSCA have been conniving with the UPC rebels in Haut-Mbomou prefecture.

The MINUSCA delegation in Bangui as of press time was yet to react to the events unfolding in Haut-Mbomou.

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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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