Militia attacks in CAR ahead of president’s visit UN Force comes under fire

Militiamen killed two police officers in the town of Bambari ahead of a scheduled visit by president Touadera

Two police officers have been killed and another wounded by militiamen in the Central African Republic town of Bambari in the wake of a scheduled visit by the country’s President.

According to official statements, the attack came a day after President Faustin-Archange Toudera announced a date for African Union-brokered peace talks with armed groups who control most of the CAR.

“Members of the UPC militia and their allies carried out “various attacks” in the town of Bambari early Thursday”

 While Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said it had treated 30 people for bullet wounds, local papers report the death of 10 people. This toll remains confirmed.

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The UN troops in the country, the MINUSCA had come under fire a day earlier.

Touadera had been scheduled to visit Bambari, located in the centre of the country on Thursday and Friday to attend ceremonies for World Food Day. The ceremonies initially set for October 2018 had already been postponed twice because of unrest and were suspended once more after the latest clashes.

Touadera on Wednesday had announced long-awaited AU-backed talks with rebels for January 24 in Khartoum the Sudanese capital. The AU initiative, despite have the backing of the United nations has since fallen under heavy criticism for its slow pace.

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The town of Bakouma, further East remains in the hands of another rebel group allied to the UPC, the Popular Front for the Rebirth of CAR (FPRC). Bakouma Town was seized in late December 2018.

Both the UPC and the FPRC  are offshoots of the Seleka rebel alliance that overthrew the regime of Francois Bozize in March 2013 holding power until 2014.

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