Central African Republic army, UN troops repel attack, says government

People walk along Bria's main street in Bria, a strategic town in eastern Central African Republic. Government forces in southeastern Central African Republic, backed by UN troops, on Wednesday repelled an attack by a rebel militia, killing “around 10" assailants and capturing others, an official spokesperson said.
People walk along Bria's main street in Bria, a strategic town in eastern Central African Republic. Government forces in southeastern Central African Republic, backed by UN troops, on Wednesday repelled an attack by a rebel militia, killing “around 10" assailants and capturing others, an official spokesperson said.
Image: AFP/ CAMILLE LAFFONT

Government forces in southeastern Central African Republic, backed by UN troops, on Wednesday repelled an attack by a rebel militia, killing “around 10" assailants and capturing others, an official spokesperson said.

The clash took place in the town of Obo, which had been surrounded for several days by the CAR's biggest armed group, the Unity for Peace in Central Africa (UPC), said government spokesperson Ange-Maxime Kazagui.

“The provisional toll is around 10 dead among the UPC, as well as prisoners. A member of the FACA (the CAR armed forces) was also wounded,” Kazagui said.

The assault came after several sporadic bouts of fighting, Kazagui said.

Vladimir Monteiro, the spokesperson for the UN force MINUSCA, said, “FACA and MINUSCA responded to fire and repelled UPC” forces.

The UPC is one of myriad armed groups which have controlled most of the CAR since the country plunged into violence in 2013.

The national armed forces are poorly equipped and trained, and the CAR's elected president, Faustin-Archange Touadera, governs with the support of a large UN peacekeeping operation.

Led by a mercenary named Ali Darassa, the UPC has been campaigning for months to extend its grip in the southeast, at the crossroads of the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.

“We would like to congratulate the FACA, which defended itself against the attackers with heavy weapons, and demonstrated its ability to defend itself,” Kazagui stressed.

The government signed a peace deal in February 2019 with 14 armed groups, who typically claim to defend the interests of specific communities or religions.

Violence has since generally receded, but there are still bloody flareups, typically sparked by fighting over resources.

Presidential elections are due in December.


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