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Central Africa Politics

Cameroon forces rescue 24 abducted school children held hostage by separatists

The children were kidnapped early Tuesday from their school in the southwestern city of Kumba and “taken to the forest where the camp of the separatists is located,” an official said.

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Cameroonian soldiers at battlefield./Wikiwand

Soldiers have rescued 24 abducted Cameroonian school children held hostage by armed separatists in the country’s restive English-speaking region of Meme division, an official has said.

The children were kidnapped early Tuesday from their school in the southwestern city of Kumba and “taken to the forest where the camp of the separatists is located,” Ntou Ndong Chamberlain, senior officer of Meme division, told reporters.

Chamberlain said the two armed separatists were shot dead during the rescue operation and that weapons and ammunitions were found.

The children, aged 5-10, have been reunited with their families, a Xinhua news agency report said.

Abductions have become rampant in the northwest and southwest Anglophone regions of Cameroon as general elections draw near.

Armed separatists have been clashing with government forces since 2017 in an attempt to establish an independent nation in the two regions.

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Central Africa Politics

Constitutional Court Confirms C.A.R President Touadera’s Re-election

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The Constitutional Court of the Central African Republic (CAR) on Monday confirmed the re-election of President Faustin-Archange Touadera.

CAR held its presidential elections on 27 December 2020. On January 4, authorities announced preliminary results of the vote, saying Touadera won 53.92 per cent but the opposition asked the Constitutional Court to cancel the ballot and order a re-run.

The opposition had cited “massive fraud’’, insecurity and low voter turnout as marring the elections.

However, on Monday, the constitutional court announced that Touadera won his second term with 53.16 per cent of the vote; Anicet Georges Dologuele had 22% of the vote, repeating his second-place finish in the 2016 election.

The poll was held under threats from armed groups, which formed a new alliance, known as the Coalition of Patriots for Change, and launched attacks in the provinces, vowing to “march on Bangui,’’ the capital.

The government accused former president Francois Bozize of instigating the unrest to attempt a coup.

Touadera, 63, first took the helm of affairs in the country in 2016 after a civil war that left thousands of dead and drove hundreds of thousands from their homes.

Two-thirds of the impoverished country is in the hands of armed groups, and Touadera relies on help from UN peacekeeping forces and military support from Russia and Rwanda.

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Central Africa Politics

Military Repels Attempt to Seize CAR’s Capital, Bangui – PM

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The Security forces in the Central African Republic (CAR) have repulsed an attack by armed groups seeking to seize the capital, Bangui, Prime Minister Firmin Ngrebada said on Wednesday.

The PM added that the incident happened in the early hours of Wednesday.

The assault represents a marked escalation in fighting with rebel groups that erupted around a disputed Dec. 27 election.

The groups attacked towns close to Bangui last month but did not reach the capital as intended.

According to an eyewitness in Bangui heard explosions and later saw helicopters circling over the city.

“The attackers, who came in large numbers to take Bangui, have been vigorously pushed back,’’ Ngrebada said in a statement.

He also urged citizens to remain calm.

The gold- and diamond-rich country of 4.7 million has been hit by violence since former president Francois Bozize was ousted by a rebellion in 2013.

Thousands have been killed and more than a million forced from their homes.

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Central Africa Politics

DR Congo Frees 24 Jailed for Assassination of Ex-President Laurent Kabila

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The Democratic Republic of Congo has released 24 prisoners jailed over their roles in the assasination of former President Laurent Kabila.

Laurent Kabila was shot and killed by a bodyguard, Rashidi Muzele, in his palace in January 2001. The bodyguard was himself shot dead while attempting to flee the scene of the crime.

Prosecutors said the assassination was part of a coup attempt led by Colonel Eddy Kapend, Kabila’s closest personal aide, and a court sentenced him and more than two dozen others to death.

Now, following a presidential pardon by President Felix Tshisekedi, the accused were released from prison in the capital, Kinshasa, after nearly 20 years incarceration.

Kabila’s former ally, Kapend, is among those freed in what the Congolese government said was a show of “humanity, pardon, justice and national reconciliation.”

However, the move is seen as a further deepening of the rift between Tshisekedi and Joseph Kabila – who succeeded his father, Laurent, as president after his assassination.

Joseph, who stepped down as president in 2019 and was replaced by Tshisekedi, repeatedly resisted calls to pardon Kapend and the others.

For two years Tshisekedi was in a coalition with Joseph Kabila. But a deep rift has developed between DR Congo’s two most powerful politicians and Tshisekedi is now trying to distance himself from his predecessor and remove Kabila loyalists from the government.

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