Rebel attacks kill dozens in Central African Republic

Rebel attacks in the northwestern Central African Republic over the weekend claimed at least 30 civilian lives and two soldiers, local officials said Tuesday.

Simultaneous attacks on Sunday hit the villages of Kaita and Bayengou, near the Cameroon border, about 500 kilometers (300 miles) north of the capital Bangui, said regional administrator Esaie Gbanin, whose death toll was confirmed by a humanitarian source.

Many residents have fled to Cameroon, Gbanin added.

The Central African Republic, the second least developed country in the world according to the UN ranking, was plunged into a bloody civil war after a coup in 2013.

The conflict has subsided in the last three years, although large swaths of territory remain outside the control of the central government.

Gbanin blamed the attacks on Sunday on elements of the 3R (Return, Recovery, Rehabilitation) rebels. The 3R, made up mainly of Fulani combatants, is one of the most powerful armed groups in the country.

In late December 2020, they joined the rebel coalition seeking to overthrow President Faustin Archange Touadera and prevent his re-election.

Touadera prevailed and, since then, government forces have retaken the cities and much of the two-thirds of the country that the rebels had controlled, mainly thanks to Rwandan soldiers and the presence of hundreds of Russian mercenaries fighting alongside them.

The European Commission said on Tuesday that the presence of Russian mercenaries from the Wagner group could lead the EU to halt its military training mission in the Central African Republic.


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