from OMAN MBIKO in Bangui, Central African Republic (CAR)
BANGUI, (CAJ News) – THE United Nation peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) is investigating reports that armed groups are using children to perpetrate a spate of violence across the country.
It is a new dimension of the anarchy besetting the Central African country (CAR), whose woes have worsened in recent days after contentions general elections.
Rebel groups opposed to the disqualification of former president, François Bozizé Yangouvonda, and the subsequent December 27 poll have unleashed a reign of terror.
Vladimir Monteiro, the MINUSCA spokesman, confirmed reports the militant groups could have enlisted minors during the violations.
“MINUSCA is also checking reports of the use of children by the coalition of armed groups responsible for the current violence in several localities,” he said.
The envoy was speaking in the capital Bangui during the UN mission’s post-election conference.
Monteiro also disclosed that MINUSCA indicated that 57 incidents of abuse and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law affecting at least 96 victims between 22 and 29 December, mainly by armed groups.
Three peacekeepers were from MINUSCA were killed during the period.
“MINUSCA also documented numerous attacks against aid workers on their vehicles, motorcycles, telephones and radios before the December 27 elections,” Monteiro added.
General Pascal Champion, head of the police component of the mission, said in spite of some dysfunctions in the conduct of the votes, due to the disturbances created by the armed groups, the holding of the general polls was a victory for the Central Africans.
“We lost a few battles in CAR but the ‘war’ to carry out Sunday’s elections has been won,” Champion stated.
Militant groups have made CAR, a country of more than 4 million people, ungovernable since Muslim extremists ousted Yangouvonda in 2013.
– CAJ News