Bangui (Central African Republic) (AFP)
Rebels killed six civilians and injured several others on Saturday in an attack on a volatile village in the northeastern Central African Republic, the UN peacekeeping mission said.
“This morning, at dawn, elements of the 3R (Return, Recovery, Rehabilitation) launched a large-scale attack against the positions of the C. African army in the village of Mann,” said the spokesperson. of the UN MINUSCA mission, 12,000 strong.
“Six civilians were killed and several injured,” he added.
The village is about 550 kilometers (340 miles) from the capital Bangui, Lt. Col. Abdoulaziz Fall told AFP.
“The situation is under control and patrols are underway,” he said.
The 3Rs, a rebel group made up of members of the Funali ethnic group, is one of many such formations flourishing in this country ravaged by violence.
CAR is the second least developed country in the world according to the UN and still suffers from the aftermath of a violent civil conflict that erupted in 2013.
It has been rocked by coups d’état and decades of maladministration by dictators since gaining independence from France in 1960.
President Faustin Archange Touadera was re-elected in December with less than one in three voters.
The poll was hampered by armed groups – including the 3Rs – which at the time controlled about two-thirds of the country, and the rebels launched an offensive as polling day approached.
Since then, the army, backed by UN peacekeepers, Rwandan special forces and Russian paramilitaries, has wrested much of the territory from rebel control.
On Thursday, the UN Security Council extended the arms embargo against the country by 12 months, as members expressed concern at the “deterioration” of the situation.
The extension – which aims to prevent armed groups from acquiring weapons – is virtually the same as the last embargo but includes an exemption on mortars.
Russian “instructors” have been helping the ill-equipped Central African National Army since 2018, when Moscow first admitted sending personnel to help train its besieged forces.
The Russian paramilitaries provided small arms, obtained an exemption from the arms embargo and helped strengthen the Central African army.
Last month, UN experts accused Russian instructors of “indiscriminate killings” and looting.
Moscow insists the personnel are unarmed and not involved in the fighting.
Russia has acknowledged the deployment of around 500 instructors, but UN experts estimate there could be as many as 2,000.
© 2021 AFP