Russian mercenaries of the Wagner Security Group on Tuesday, Jan. 4, encircled Bria, chief town of the Haute-Kotto prefecture, situated 595 kilometres to the north of Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, and went on a systematic arrest of individuals.
“The town was encircled, persons arrested and four persons killed, plunging the town into panic and forcing the inhabitants to seek refuge elsewhere,” a civil society source told HumAngle.
Since Dec. 15, 2021, Russian mercenaries have been going to town for a systematic arrest of youths whom they take to their base and force to work for them.
“As this has been going on for quite some time now, the youths have within the past four days decided to always disappear whenever the Russians are on their rounds to pick them up,” a senior resident of Bria said.
The resident who declined to be named for his safety said since the Russians have been finding it difficult to find any youths to pick and take to their camp for forced labour, they decided on Tuesday to encircle several quarters in the town.
They, however, exempted the displaced persons camp at PK3 to prevent the youths from running away.
“The Russians usually force the youths they arrest to demolish old brick houses and they recover the bricks which they have been using in the construction of their base situated near Badica.”
According to eyewitnesses, the Russians opened fire when youths in the village took to their heels on sighting them.
“The shooting eventually resulted in the deaths of four youths: one in Piango quarter, one in Mandet quarter, one in Bornou quarter and the other in Ndrou quarter,” a civil society source told HumAngle.
“As the youths were being gunned down, the whole inhabitants of the town started running away into the bushes while others ran into the camps for displaced persons which were not targeted by the Russian mercenaries.”
A military source disclosed that humanitarian organisations closed access to their quarters and placed their personnel under tight security while the shooting was going on.
“At around 5 p.m. the Russian mercenaries invaded the mosque where the corpses of the four victims had been taken for religious rites and took the corpses away,” an Muslim cleric in the mosque told HumAngle.
The Russian mercenaries have extended the duration of the curfew in Bria to Wednesday, Jan.5, 2022. The curfew was due to end on Dec. 31, 2021.
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