Rebel group still holding CAR soldiers hostage


United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), Yao Agbetse. Photo supplied by MINUSCA

from OMAN MBIKO in Bangui, Central African Republic
Central African Republic Bureau
BANGUI, (CAJ News) – THE taking prisoner of some 20 soldiers by a radical group is major infringement to the truces between the government of the Central African Republic (CAR) and rebel groups.

The Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) is believed to be still holding the soldiers hostage after they attacked a military base of the Central African Armed Forces (FACA) base in Sikikédé northeast of the country in mid-February.

An unspecified number of military men were killed.

A United Nations (UN) independent expert on the situation of human rights in the troubled country condemned the attack and demanded the release of soldiers taken prisoner by the armed group.

“By continuing its attacks on FACA positions and civilians, despite the instruments for political resolution of the conflict and commitments made, the CPC ranks among the enemies of peace,” the expert, Yao Agbetse, said.

“The prisoners must be released without delay, and international humanitarian actors and human rights organisations must be given unconditional access to the captured soldiers,” the UN envoy said.

Agbetse called on the armed groups of the CPC to deposit their arms and join the conflict resolution framework as planned, in particular by the Political Accord for Peace and Reconciliation in the CAR (APPR CAR) and the Luanda Road Map.

The former was signed in 2019.

The road map calls on the CPC to comply strictly with the Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners of war.

Agbetse reminded that the CPC and entities that support them will eventually answer for their actions in national and international courts.

“No crime will go unpunished,” the expert declared.

The Togolese envoy has called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Special Criminal Court (SCC) to observe the evolving situation and initiate necessary investigations in accordance with the Rome Statute and the law creating the SCC.

“The CPC must refrain from any act of retaliation against prisoners,” Agbetse added.

CPC is a coalition of major revels groups created to disrupt the CAR elections in 2020/21 after the Constitutional Court rejected the candidature of former president François Bozizé in the presidential poll.

Incumbent president Faustin-Archange Touadéra was re-elected.

– CAJ News


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