Central African Republic: peacekeepers take control of Bangassou from rebels

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Peacekeepers in the Central African Republic have regained control of Bangassou, 750 km east of Bangui, occupied since early January by armed groups who launched an offensive against the regime of President Faustin Archange Touadéra, the UN announced on Saturday. .

• Read also: Central African Republic: two rebel attacks repulsed at the entrance to Bangui

“The city of Bangassou is under total control of Minusca, following the ultimatum launched Friday by the Force of the Mission to the armed groups. The rebels abandoned the positions they occupied and fled the city overnight from Friday to Saturday, ”said Vladimir Monteiro, spokesperson for the United Nations mission in the Central African Republic (Minusca) on Saturday evening.

“Incidents involving attempted looting took place in the evening and in the morning (between Friday and Saturday, Editor’s note), and the force intervened to put an end to them. The situation is calm and under control, and the positions initially occupied by the armed elements are no longer so, ”Lieutenant-Colonel Abdoulaziz Fall, spokesperson for the military component of Minusca, told AFP.

On December 17, the six most powerful armed groups which had occupied two-thirds of the Central African Republic in civil war for eight years united, then on the 19th, eight days before the presidential and legislative elections, an offensive was announced with the aim of ‘prevent the re-election of President Touadéra.

On Friday, Minusca issued an ultimatum to the rebels, urging them to leave the town of Bangassou, which they had occupied since January 3, within three days.

After the offensive by armed groups, many residents of the city fled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“It’s a great joy,” Juan Jose Aguirre, bishop of Bangassou, told AFP after the town was taken over by Minusca. “After thirteen days of sleeping under the stars, people will be able to go home,” he added.

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