Russian mercenaries of the Wagner Security Group have rejected accusations that they killed Zakaria Damane, self-proclaimed ‘general’ and leader of the Unite pour la Paix en Centrafrique (UPC) on Saturday, Feb. 12.
According to senior Wagner Security officials, Zakaria Damane was killed by rebels of the UPC in Boromata and not in Ouadda as earlier reported.
However, several authoritative sources in Bangui, the national capital, insist that Zakaria Damane was killed by the Russian mercenaries.
“The Wagner Security people have been in the Central African Republic for hardly one year and they do not know the entire history of this country,” Anicet Goro, a student of the University of Bangui said.
“They forget that ‘general’ Zakaria Damane is an old rebel leader in the north of the Central African Republic. He is one of the creators of the UFDR which later became the FPRC which is a faction of Seleka which overthrew Francois Bozize in March 2013.”
“That said, it is not Ali Darassa of the UPC who can kill Zakaria Damane as if he were an infant. First of all, where Damane was killed is not a zone controlled by the UPC and even if it were the case, there had to be a bloody and fierce battle before he could be killed. But since it was your ally whom he had confidence in, he was killed as a simple animal with all his family,” the university student argued.
A resident of Bria who declined to be named for security reasons maintained that the late rebel leader was killed by the Russians.
“With the main intention of refusing to assume their responsibility, after assassinating ‘general’ Zakaria Damane in Ouadda, they want to move the scene of the murder to Boromata,” the unnamed Bria resident said.
“The opinion that the information which has been circulating since about one week in the media that they killed Zakaria is a lie and their own version the truth, is itself a lie. They killed Zakaria. They had details of his last moments on earth and only they were in position to kill him.”
The government of President Faustin Archange Touadera has also insisted that Russian mercenaries are qualified military instructors who do not carry arms and could not have killed Zakaria Damane.
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