Armed ViolenceNews

Rebels Intimidate, Arrest Citizens In Central African Republic Towns

There is still no peace in the Central African Republic as rebels who are against the central government have continued to intimidate citizens with arrest and torture.

Armed rebels fighting against the government in the Central African Republic have taken their assaults to another level as they now harass and arrest citizens at will, HumAngle can confirm.

In Kaga-Bandoro, within the Nana-Grebizi district, for instance, the residents have been living in fear as armed rebels have been stopping the people from carrying out their daily activities.

“Most combatants within the rebel groups are always looking nervous and irritable. Disquiet reigns supreme among most of the rebel fighters and under such situations, they can easily become trigger happy,” said a resident of  Kaga-Bandoro who opted for anonymity for fear of reprisals from the rebels.

“The rebel groups which are presently in Kago-Bandoro are very agitated. They attack everybody without provocation,” he added.

“When they meet someone on the road, they catch him and accuse the person of one offence or the other. They would apprehend and detain people for no just reason and then eventually demand that the people pay fines ranging from 50,000 FCFA to 150,000 FCFA.”

Residents have also complained that the rebels often torture those they arrest which in most cases lead to death. 

“If you are fined 50,000 FCFA, then you are lucky and if it is 150,000 FCFA, then it is better than torture or even death. That is what we have been going through here,” said another inhabitant who also refused to reveal his name to HumAngle.

Many of them are now living in palpable fear as the rebels become more violent. 

“Right now, the populations are living through a climate of terror because the armed groups are very aggressive and violent these days. The people are living in fear and they have been asking questions. The recurrent question is: when will the town of Kaga-Bandoro be liberated?”

“This is one of a series of questions the people have been asking everyday. The rebel fighters go right into camps for displaced persons and demand large sums of money. That terrorizes the people a great deal.”

Kaga-Bandoro is currently under the control of combatants of the Mouvement patriotique pour la Centrafrique (MPC) of Mahamat Alkhatim and the anti-Balaka militia which has been controlling the town for the past seven years.

The former Central African Republic president, Francois Bozize, is said to have met with the rebel leader, Mahamat Alkhatim, in Kaga-Bandoro just a few hours after the announcement of the rejection of his candidature for the Dec. 27, 2020 presidential elections by the constitutional court. This has led to allegations that the former leader is responsible for the rebel occupation in the country.

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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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