Central African Republic: merger of main armed groups ahead of elections

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The leaders of the three main armed groups, which occupy the vast majority of Central African territory and lead an offensive in the north and west of the country, announced their merger and the creation of a coalition in a statement released on Saturday.

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

While the first round of presidential and legislative elections is scheduled for December 27, but the opposition fears massive fraud, this coalition is now threatening the capital Bangui with a blockade from a distance.

The members of the armed groups decide “to merge all our movements into a single entity, designated the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), placed under unified command”, they wrote in a statement, inviting “all other armed groups to join ”.

The members of this coalition call on their members to “fraternize” with the soldiers of the regular forces who wish to join them, to “scrupulously respect the integrity of the civilian populations”, and to “let the vehicles of the United Nations and humanitarian workers pass freely” .

The peacekeepers are “on high alert” to prevent armed groups “from disrupting the elections,” the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (Minusca) said in a statement released Friday.

According to humanitarian and UN sources, armed groups seized on Friday several localities located on the axes that serve Bangui.

The Central African Republic was ravaged by civil war after a coalition of predominantly Muslim armed groups, the Séléka, overthrew the regime of President François Bozizé in 2013. Clashes between Séléka and Christian militias and anti-balaka animists had left thousands behind. dead.

The CPC today brings together groups from the Seleka and anti-balaka militias against the regime of President Faustin Archange Touadera.

Since 2018, the war has evolved into a low-intensity conflict, where armed groups compete for control of the country’s resources, mainly livestock and minerals, while regularly perpetrating abuses against civilians.

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