Central African rebels opposed to President Faustin-Archange Touadéra launched an offensive on the morning of January 13 against the country’s capital. An assault repelled by the Central African army and UN forces. A peacekeeper is dead.
The first rebel attack on the outskirts of the capital Bangui since the start of their offensive against the newly re-elected Central African President Faustin-Archange Touadéra was postponed on January 13, the UN confirmed in a statement on Wednesday, noting the death of ‘a Rwandan peacekeeper.
“The attack was repelled by the Blue Helmets, together with the Central African armed forces,” said the spokesperson for the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (Minusca), who “deplores the loss of a Rwandan peacekeeper” .
At respectively 9 and 12 kilometers from the center of the capital, at dawn, army brigades “were attacked simultaneously but, thanks to the bravery of our forces and bilateral support, we were able to repel the attackers who were currently in disarray ”, assured the Minister of the Interior Henri Wanzet-Linguissara in the morning.
“Several rebels have been captured, more than a dozen have been killed,” Lieutenant-Colonel Abdoulaziz Fall, spokesman for the peacekeepers in the country, told AFP.
La Minusca, in an official statement, condemned “in the strongest terms the attack”.
The #MINUSCA condemns in the strongest terms the attack launched on 01/13/21 by the anti-Balaka, UPC, 3R and MPC coalition armed groups and their political allies on the outskirts of the city of #Bangui. https://t.co/GgyLcGCDne
– MINUSCA (@UN_CAR) January 13, 2021
This offensive by armed groups comes on the day when the UN Security Council is due to meet at France’s request on the Central African Republic with on the agenda: the presence of foreign troops and mercenaries in this country and the arms embargo, in force since the start of the civil war.
President Touadéra received support from Russia
These are the first clashes at the gates of Bangui since the rebels announced an offensive almost a month ago.
To help Bangui strengthen the defensive capacities of the Central African Republic, Russia quickly responded to the government’s request
On December 19, eight days before the presidential and legislative elections, a coalition of six of the most powerful armed groups that have occupied two-thirds of the Central African Republic since the start of the civil war – eight years ago – announced an offensive to prevent the re-election of President Touadéra.
The latter was declared re-elected on January 4 after a poll that was highly contested by the opposition, for which only one in two registered voters had the opportunity to go to the polls due to insecurity outside Bangui.
President Touadéra had received support from Russia, which sent 300 military instructors to the country at the request of local authorities, Russian diplomacy said on December 22 in a statement from the Foreign Ministry. “To help Bangui to strengthen the defensive capacities of the Central African Republic, Russia responded quickly to the request of the (Central African) government and sent 300 additional instructors for the training of the national army”, one could read in the text.