Last week rebel fighters attacked and partially occupied a town in the Central African Republic. The rebels targeted a diamond-mining town in Bangassou, which lies on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. Insurgents raid in CAR prompt the Central African Republic army soldiers to launch an offensive. The Army soldiers killed at least five rebels while two army soldiers acquired injuries in the fight in Bangassou.
Insurgents Raid Bangassou
Before the attack in Bangassou occurred, the Central African Republic was expecting the announcement of the presidential election results. Because of this, several government and United Nations officials believe that the rebels acted under the direction of ex-president Francois Bozize. The former leader has been know to support such attacks since his ousting from power in 2013.
Government officials stated that they believed Mr. Bangassou was behind the attacks because he was angry with the constitutional court’s rejection of his candidacy. Because the court made that decision, Mr. Bozize could not challenge president Faustin-Archange Touadera in the elections. And because it seemed that President Faustin was set to be reflected, Mr. Bozize sought to cause electoral unrest, which could end in him seizing power.
U.N and government officials said Bozize aimed to overthrow the institutions of the Republic and end the democratic process with the attack. Most of Bozize’s party officials have denied that the leader is working with the rebels. But a few in the group have implied that they are acting together with the rebels.
On the day of the attack, the rebels entered attacked Bangassou at around 5:30 a.m. Officers tried to contain the rebels but were outmatched and had to seek reinforcements from the army. The fighting continued up to around 10:00 a.m., and several people lost their lives. The attack in Bangassou kept more than 14% of polling stations in the area closed on election day. Many civilians fled the hostilities into neighboring Congo while numerous others drowned in the river.
Rebels Regroup and try to take the Capital
This week the armed rebels regrouped and tried yet again to seize the Central African Republic capital Bangui. The insurgents raid focused on the Capital after President Faustin-Archabge Touadera won the elections. The opposition in CAR has called for a re-run of the election due to alleged irregularities. Additionally, they call for a re-run because of the insecurity, which prevented numerous people from voting. But all their efforts in achieving a re-run have borne no fruits.
It seems the only thing the opposition is to do is settle with the decision of President Touadera’s re-election. But others like the rebels have resulted to attacking towns. During last week’s attack in Bangassou, the rebels did not manage to get into the Capital Bangui despite attacking towns close to the Capital. But this week, the insurgents targeted Bangui on different fronts, including its northern neighborhoods.
One witness resting in his home told reporters he heard gunfire at six in the morning. The resident living in north Bangui said he only wanted to be identified using his first name Mr. Rodrigue and added that there was immediate panic in the area. Mr. Rodrigue instructed his family to lie flat on the floor as he feared stray bullets might reach them. Another witness told reporters that he heard loud explosions and saw helicopters circling over Bangui. The witness added that the situation seemed to calm down as of 0800 GMT.
The CAR Army Contains the Attackers
The CAR army, backed by the Russian, Rwandan, French, and U.N forces, have been successfully battling the rebel groups. In the recent attacks on Bangui, the forces managed to vigorously push back the attackers who came in large numbers. But since the battles began, over 30,000 people have fled the Central African Republic. Furthermore, the conflict has caused food shortages and price rises in the Capital.