Central African Republic: armed groups threaten power in the event of an “electoral hold-up”

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At least three of the largest armed groups that occupy two-thirds of the Central African Republic have threatened to attack President Faustin Archange Touadéra’s power if the latter organizes fraud, as they accuse him, to obtain a second term in office. the presidential election of December 27.

• Read also: Beginning of the presidential campaign and legislative elections in the Central African Republic

These threats were made in a statement made public Thursday, but, Friday morning, only three of the six groups listed and contacted by AFP had confirmed that the document bore their signature, a fourth having denied it.

They regularly accuse the power of Mr. Touadéra of fraud and believe that the power does not respect the Khartoum peace agreement signed on February 6, 2019 by the government and 14 armed groups, but which has not yet succeeded in ending to the civil war ravaging the Central African Republic for nearly eight years.

“Considering the obvious failure” of this agreement, the signatories undertake to “restore security throughout the national territory” by “all means”, including “means of coercion, in the event that the executive power persists in manipulating the organization of the poll to carry out an electoral hold-up, ”the statement affirmed.

Friday morning, only the Patriotic Movement for the Central African Republic (MPC), the 3R (Return, Claim, Rehabilitation), and the Popular Front for the Renaissance of the Central African Republic (FPRC) had confirmed their signature to AFP.

Tensions are high in the Central African Republic, where the government accuses former President François Bozizé, overthrown by a putsch in 2013 which marked the start of the civil war, of preparing a “plan to destabilize the country”. The presidential candidacy of Mr. Bozizé was invalidated in early December when he appeared to be the most serious challenger to President Touadéra, favorite in the poll.

Three days ago, Mr. Bozizé accepted this invalidation and supported one of the 16 candidates opposed to Mr. Touadéra, the former Prime Minister Anicet-Georges Dologuélé. But he also left the capital to return to his stronghold in the north-west where, according to concordant humanitarian and security sources, he met the leaders of several armed groups.

These meetings, as well as movements of combatants and skirmishes in these territories, fueled the rumor in local media and on social networks that he was organizing a coup, as accused by Camp Touadéra.

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