Russia has sent “several hundred” soldiers to the Central African Republic

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Bangui | Russia has sent “several hundred” soldiers to the Central African Republic, Bangui announced on Monday, three days after an offensive by three armed groups described as an “attempted coup” by the government, less than a week before the presidential elections. and legislative.

“Russia has sent several hundred men from the regular forces, and heavy equipment” as part of a bilateral cooperation agreement, Ange Maxime Kazagui, spokesperson for the Central African government told AFP, without specifying their exact number or date of arrival.

“The Rwandans have also sent several hundred men who are already on the ground and have already started fighting,” added the spokesperson.

In the Central African Republic, private guards employed by Russian security companies provide close protection for President Faustin Archange Touadera and instructors train the Central African armed forces.

Moscow had not yet confirmed Monday morning the sending of Russian soldiers to the Central African Republic.

Friday evening, three of the most powerful armed groups occupying more than two-thirds of the country had started to progress on roads vital for supplying the capital Bangui. They had also announced their merger.

In the process, the government accused on Saturday the former head of state François Bozizé of “attempted coup” with a “clear intention to march with his men on the city of Bangui” during this election period. The presidential elections, with incumbent President Faustin Archange Touadéra as favorite, and legislative elections are scheduled for next Sunday.

François Bozizé’s party denied any attempted coup on Sunday.

The spokesperson for the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (Minusca), Vladimir Monteiro said on Sunday that the rebels were blocked or pushed back in several localities.

France, Russia, the United States, the European Union and the World Bank on Sunday called on François Bozizé and the armed groups to lay down their arms.

These countries and partner institutions of the Central African Republic, members of the G5 +, “demand that Bozizé and the allied armed groups immediately lay down their arms, refrain from any destabilization action and respect the decision of the Constitutional Court of December 3, 2020”, the signatories said in a joint statement released on Sunday.

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