Central African Republic: two peacekeepers killed, re-elected president calls for “reconciliation”

Political stability which is not synonymous with peace. While the maintenance in power of Central African President Faustin Archange Touadéra was validated this Monday by the Constitutional Court, two UN peacekeepers were killed by rebels, opposed to the regime.

“A Gabonese and a Moroccan were killed on Monday, 17 km from Bangassou, in the south of the Republic of the Central African Republic, following the ambush of their convoy by elements of the coalition armed groups”, announced the Minusca, the mission of the UN, in a press release.

This incident brings to seven the number of peacekeepers killed since the launch of the coordinated and simultaneous attacks by the allies against former President François Bozizé.

The rebels wanted to prevent the re-election of Touadéra

There was no question of going back so far. “The Minusca mission remains committed to pursuing its mandate of protecting civilian populations and securing elections,” said Mankeur Ndiaye, the UN special representative in the Central African Republic, in the statement.

On December 17, the six most powerful armed groups that had occupied two-thirds of the Central African Republic in civil war for eight years allied themselves in the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), then announced on the 19th, eight days before the presidential and legislative elections, an offensive aimed at preventing the re-election of President Touadéra.

This is why some 12,000 peacekeepers from the peacekeeping force of the UN mission in the Central African Republic (Minusca) have been deployed since 2014. They are supported by hundreds of Rwandan soldiers and Russian paramilitaries dispatched at the end of December by their countries.

The re-elected president “reaches out” to the opposition

Since swearing to “march on Bangui”, the rebels have carried out sporadic but sometimes violent attacks, generally far from the capital.

At the same time, the re-elected president called for reconciliation. “I extend my patriotic hand to the democratic opposition in order to get our country out of the vicious cycle of violence and destruction,” said the head of state.

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At the same time, his election was confirmed by the Constitutional Court, which rejected the appeals for annulment of the ballot of 13 of the 16 rivals of the outgoing head of state. They invoked “massive fraud” and the impossibility for two registered voters out of three to vote, on December 27, because of the insecurity.

Touadéra has once again accused former President François Bozizé, whose candidacy had been invalidated by the Constitutional Court, of having “conceived the rebellion, gathered the means and set the country on fire”.

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