Bangui | The rebels leading an offensive against the regime of the newly re-elected Central African President Faustin Archange Touadéra launched two simultaneous attacks on Wednesday at the entrance to Bangui which were repulsed, Interior Minister Henri Wanzet told AFP. Linguissara.
These two attacks were confirmed to AFP by officials of the United Nations mission in the Central African Republic (Minusca), on condition of anonymity, while the spokesperson for the peacekeepers in the country, Lieutenant-Colonel Abdoulaziz Fall , referred to “an attack” and still ongoing clashes.
These are the first clashes on the outskirts of Bangui since the rebels announced an offensive almost a month ago.
At respectively 9 and 12 km from the center of the capital, at dawn, army brigades “were attacked simultaneously but, thanks to the bravery of our forces and bilateral support, we were able to repel the attackers who were currently in disarray ”, assured the Minister of the Interior.
“This morning around 6 am in Bangui, the position of the Minusca at kilometer point 12 was attacked by armed elements” and triggered “an immediate response, before the sending of reinforcements on the spot, no injuries were to be deplored. Minusca side, ”explained Lieutenant-Colonel Fall. “The exchange of fire has declined but the situation remains tense,” he added two hours after the outbreak of the attack.
On December 19, eight days before the presidential and legislative elections, a coalition of six of the most powerful armed groups who have occupied two-thirds of the Central African Republic since the start of the civil war eight years ago, announced an offensive to prevent re-election. by M. Touadéra.
The latter was declared re-elected on January 4 after a highly contested ballot by the opposition, for which only one in two registered voters had the opportunity to go to the polls due to insecurity outside Bangui.
The rebels of the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) had, until then, carried out sporadic attacks generally repulsed by the peacekeepers supported by large contingents heavily armed of Rwandan soldiers and Russian paramilitaries recently landed to the rescue of the government. and his army.
These attacks had hitherto taken place mainly in towns and villages far from the capital.
Thus in Grimari on Tuesday, 300 km north-east of Bangui, “the armed elements of the CPC launched an attack against the Central African forces and the Minusca, using mortar shells in particular, against the base” of the Burundian peacekeepers, assured Lieutenant-Colonel Fall. The clashes did not claim any casualties but “more than 350 civilians are currently under the protection of Burundian soldiers,” he added.