UN Calls For Immediate Release Of French Soldiers Arrested In Central African Republic

Hostilities between France and Russia are spilling into UN and other military operations in the Central African Republic, as CAR arrests French MINUSCA soldiers.

A senior United Nations official in the Central African Republic has called for the immediate release of four French soldiers who were arrested on Monday, Feb. 21, over an alleged plot to assassinate the country’s President Faustin Archange Touadera.

Speaking during a press briefing after meeting with President Touadera on Tuesday, Feb. 22, Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson of the UN in Bangui, declared that during the time of their arrest, the four French soldiers who are members of the French contingent to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission to the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) “were carrying UN identification cards and are not yet released and still being held at the gendarmerie”.

“The commander of the Blue Helmets of the United Nations and the assistant to the UN emissary in this country have been received by the President in order to treat this dossier. Everybody is trying to solve it so that we see the liberation as soon as possible of the four soldiers,”  Dujarric added. 

Four French soldiers who were escorting a General of the MINUSCA contingent were arrested on Monday, Feb. 21 at the Bangui M’poko airport

This incident happened at a time when relations between France and its former colony are getting tense by the day and worsened by a ferocious war of influence between Paris and Moscow in the country which has been fighting a civil war since 2013.

France has been accusing the Central African Republic of being an accomplice to an anti-France campaign orchestrated by Russia, notably through thousands of trolls on social media and in conventional media outlets.

Russia on its part accuses France of propaganda against the private security company, Wagner, and accuses it of undermining the government of the country and illicitly appropriating its natural resources.

MINUSCA has about 15,000 soldiers and police in the country which is one of the poorest nations in the world.

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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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