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Rebel Leaders In Disarray As ICC Arrests Central African Republic Minister

The Minister of Animal Breeding in CAR, a former rebel leader, has been arrested by ICC.

Leaders of various rebel groups that had been integrated into the Central African Republic government by President Faustin Archange Touadera for the sake of peace in the country are in disarray following the arrest of the Minister of Animal Breeding, Ali Hassan Bouba on Friday, Nov. 19.

Ali Hassan Bouba, who is the Political Coordinator of the Unite pour la Paix en Centrafrique (UPC) rebel group was arrested in his office in Bangui on instructions from the International Criminal Court (ICC) for atrocities committed by his rebels in the country.

Since his arrest, several rebel leaders who had been given juicy posts by President Touadera and who were living in luxury hotels and apartments in Bangui have either gone underground. 

According to Mike Cole, the Chief of Bureau of the ICC in Bangui, “2021 is a cool year for justice in the Central African Republic” adding that “with the arrest of Ali Hassan Bouba, justice has decided to demonstrate that the road is long and difficult but its arms are long and strong.”

“They can get the presumed authors of criminal atrocities wherever they are.”

One such rebel leader who has disappeared in the last 72 hours is Abdoulaye Hissen, the defense chief of the Popular Front for the Renaissance of Central Africa (FPRC) and former Minister of Youth and chief of the national defense and security committee of the three large armed groups that made up the former SELEKA government.

After opting to support the Touadera government, Abdoulaye Hissen was authorised to carry a gun, given a vehicle, and lodged by the government in a luxury suite in Hotel Ledger and a villa in KM5 quarter.

However, since the arrest of Ali Hassan, he has quit the suite in Hotel Ledger and the villa in KM5. 

There is also rebel chief, Gilbert Toumou Deya, the Minister Delegate in charge of Disarmament, Rehabilitation and Reinsertion, who had been going around in total liberty even after the numerous atrocities he and his fighters committed against several victims in Ndele, Birao, and other localities in the country. 

He has since last Friday disappeared from visibility.

Those who have not fled have decided not to stay in one place or locality for more than a few hours.

This is the case with Ali Hassan’s closest collaborators; Amadou Tanga, Moussa Gobiri, and Makaye Gobiri. 

These three had been arrested in Bria for committing atrocities against the populations there. They were detained but were released on the intervention of Ali Hassan.

The people of Bria and those of PK5 are calling for their arrest and for justice to be served to the innocent people they caused to be tortured and killed.

“All those who are thirsty for justice can now be calm because the healing process has started,” the ICC’s Mile Cole says.

“The arrests should continue for all the presumed criminals who are presently under the noses of justice here in Bangui,” a student of the University of Bangui declared.

Meanwhile, since the arrest of Ali Hassan, his former combatants who were disarmed when he decided to join the government, as well as his family members have been threatening to take up arms again if he is not released.

According to his former fighters, there is no doubt that the government is behind the arrest of the former Minister of Animal Breeding and they have given the government 72 hours to release him or else.

Hassan who was a former political coordinator of Ali Darassa’s UPC was appointed minister in 2019 in the government of former Prime Minister, Firmin Ngrebada after the signing of the accord for national reconciliation of Feb. 6, 2019 between the government of the Central African Republic and 14 armed groups.

After the attacks on the capital by the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) last January, several representatives of the armed groups were dismissed from the government except Hassan who had announced his disagreement with Ali Darassa and the creation of his own faction of the UPC in favour of the government.

He was reappointed into the new government headed by Prime Minister, Henri-Marie Dondra, in June 2021.


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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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