After a day of fighting, calm has returned to Bangui

A Minusca patrol in Bangui, Central African Republic.

A Minusca patrol in Bangui, Central African Republic.

Life is slowly resuming its course in the Central African capital, after a day of shooting in several outlying neighborhoods. The attackers were repulsed by the Faca and their allied forces. Several of them were reportedly killed. The United Nations mission also deplores the loss of a Rwandan peacekeeper.

With our special correspondent in Bangui, Alexandra Brangeon

Bangui woke up calmly on Thursday morning. The inhabitants feared a new rebel offensive, but it did not take place. In places, activity has resumed timidly. In the city center, shops are open, however there are fewer people than usual in the street. The government has banned the circulation of all motorcycle taxis, as the rebels themselves use motorcycles to get around. Thousands of Bangui residents were therefore deprived of their means of transport this morning.

On Independence Avenue, the main road that leads to the north of the city, there were also fewer vehicles. Police officers and gendarmes stopped taxis and buses this morning to carry out checks. On the outskirts, the many small markets are still open.

What about armed groups?

Little information circulates on the state of armed groups and their presence. They have been rejected, the government announced yesterday. The Prime Minister spoke of about thirty assailants killed, five captured. Yesterday, on national television, the Minister of the Interior exhibited a captured foreign fighter, without specifying his nationality.

Today, many are wondering about the means and the strategy of these rebels who descended on the capital, passing through the bush, thus avoiding the axes which descend on Bangui and which are controlled by the Faca, the Central African soldiers, supported by the Russians, Rwandan soldiers and Minusca.

Is this a strategy of harassment to put pressure on the Central African government and to be able to negotiate? The front, in any case, is still in Boali, 85 kilometers from the capital. But yesterday, the rebels showed their ability to get closer to Bangui.

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