Two UN peacekeepers die while the opposition is urged to accept the election result endorsed by the Central African Constitution

Central African Republic fractures again

photo_camera REUTERS/ANTONIE ROLLAND - A MINUSCA armoured personnel carrier keeps guard as it patrols the streets ahead of the upcoming elections in Bangui, Central African Republic, on 26 December 2020

The Central African Republic is once again becoming unstable, although the efforts of MINUSCA, the Central African troops and the support of Rwanda and Russia are allowing progress towards the country's capital, Bangui, to be made not as easy as it was in 2013. At that time the now ex-president François Bozizé, this time the instigator of the rebels, was expelled from power by the Séléka militias and the international community was forced to intervene.

The situation is now different; there are certain lessons learned, the Central African Armed Forces are more consistent and the presence of over 12,000 MINUSCA troops, including military and security forces, is also helping. To these can be added the presence of Russian troops from the Wagner Group and Rwandan troops recently sent to support the current president, Faustin Touadera.

Even so, their presence throughout the country is not as strong as it should be, and this has led the rebels of the Coalition of Patriots for Change to gain control of some important towns, in addition to causing the death of several blue helmets.

Atalayar_Rebeldes Republica Centroafricana 2

The number of UN peacekeepers killed has increased to seven since the CPC, the new rebel coalition supported by former president François Bozizé, began its campaign of attacks in different parts of the country in an attempt to destabilise the government of the Central African Republic. Among the dead Blue Helmets there are several nationalities, mainly African. The last two, who died in an ambush on Monday while travelling in a convoy to the border town of Bangassou, came from Gabon and Morocco.

It was precisely in Bangassou that one of the major attacks took place at the beginning of this month. The attack, which took place on 3 January, enabled the CPC to take over this major mining town, which is rich in diamonds and very close to the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. MINUSCA reported on Friday last week that it had regained control of the town.

Although the Central African capital had been affected by the country's growing instability, as the CPC's control of some important roads was causing a certain amount of shortages in the capital, it was not until last week that it also witnessed the attacks. Several armed groups attempted to access the capital through several areas, leading to a confrontation with MINUSCA and Central African troops, who were able to repel the attacks with hardly any casualties.

Atalayar_MINUSCA Republica Centroafricana 2_0
The Constitutional Court endorses the election result

This Monday also saw the ruling of the Central African Constitutional Court, which endorsed the election results giving victory to President Touadera. The opposition rejected the results outright because a large number of Central Africans who were called to vote were unable to exercise their right to vote. Following the ruling, the international community has called on the opposition to accept the results and return to political dialogue to try to stem this new wave of violence.

Several authorities from different international bodies have issued a joint communiqué stressing the need for the opposition to be integrated into the democratic development of the country and to put violence aside. Among the signatories are the European Union's High Representative for External Action, Josep Borrell, the President of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), Gilberto Da Piedade Veríssimo, and representatives of the United Nations and the African Union.

According to the Constitutional Court, Fuastin Touadera had obtained 53 percent of the votes, which would have enabled him to validate his election without the need for a second round. He now has a new mandate that seems even more difficult than the previous one, and in which he will have to make every effort to return the armed groups that have taken up the path of violence within the CPC to the peace agreements.

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