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Rwandan Forces Stop Joint Operations With Russian Mercenaries In Central African Republic

The Rwandan forces are leaving due to allegations of human rights violations on the Russian mercenaries assisting CAR.

The High Command of the Rwandan army has announced that its forces serving under the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission (MINUSCA) in the Central African Republic would no longer take part in joint military operations with the Russian mercenaries of the Wagner Security Group.

The decision follows a similar one by MINUSCA forces to stop collaborating with the Russian mercenaries following accusations of atrocities and war crimes levelled against the Russians.

According to the Rwandan military high command, the comportment of the Russian mercenaries on the theatre of operations is not in conformity with human rights and international humanitarian rights.

“Instead of protecting the civilian populations, they are the first to commit exactions on civilians. They are not showing good examples,” a Rwandan soldier with the MINUSCA who opted for anonymity told HumAngle.

“At the present rhythm, we risk being sanctioned by the United Nations even if we do not directly participate in exactions. The best thing to do is to withdraw from them,” the officer added.

According to the Rwandan military high command, the violations committed by the Russian mercenaries in the Central African Republic could necessarily play a negative role on the image of their troops which have been fighting alongside the Central African Republic army at a time when these mercenaries are also fighting alongside the Central Africans.

The Central African Republic government itself has distanced itself from the Russian mercenaries who were involved in escort duties with their senior officials, leaving only MINUSCA and Rwandan soldiers to perform the escort duties.

On April 30, 2021, the MINUSCA handed a list titled “Table of violations committed by state/bilateral forces from December 2020 to April 2021” to President Faustin Archange Touadera in which it strongly accused “national and bilateral forces following allegations of arbitrary/extrajudicial executions, torture, sexual violence, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, arbitrary arrests and detentions, threats to physical integrity, threats of death.”

A special investigation commission has been put in place by the government to shed more light on the allegations.

Members of the special commission have been given three months to accomplish their mission and make public the results of their findings.

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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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