Central African Republic

  1. Central African rebels launch attacks near capital

    BBC World Service

    Central African Armed Forces (FACA) soldiers stand on attention on the road between Boali and Bangui
    Image caption: Government troops (pictured) have been battling the rebel coalition for months

    The United Nations and the government in the Central African Republic (CAR) say rebels have carried out two attacks near the capital, Bangui.

    Local reports said one of the assaults targeted a checkpoint manned by government troops and Russian mercenaries.

    Ministers say the attackers were pushed back, but a UN spokesman has been quoted as describing the fighting as ongoing.

    The US embassy says it has received reports of clashes in the city and in Bimbo to the west of it.

    Rebel forces, opposed to the re-election of Faustin-Archange Touadéra and supported by former President François Bozizé, have been advancing on the city.

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  2. Thousands flee CAR to Cameroon after polls

    Killian Ngala

    BBC News, Yaoundé

    A map of Central African Republic and its neighbours

    Close to 5,000 Central African Republic (CAR) refugees have fled to eastern Cameroon following clashes between the army and rebel groups in the country.

    The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) says more than 30,000 Central Africans have fled their country since the 27 December presidential elections, seeking refuge in Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Congo-Brazzaville.

    The UNHCR says that at least 500 Central African refugees enter Cameroon every day.

    Almost every refugee arriving here has a story of the horror and pain of losing loved ones in fleeing the conflict.

    Rebels under the Coalition of Patriots for Change, who now control two thirds of the territory, have overrun several key towns in CAR as they mobilise towards the capital, Bangui, following the December elections, the results of which they reject.

    Cesar Tshilombo, the UNCHR's deputy country representative in Cameroon, says the new arrivals have been reporting cases of abuse, looting and violence.

    Mr Tshilombo says the new wave of refugees means more pressure will be put on scarce resources.

    Cameroon's Minister of Territorial Administration, Paul Atanga Nji, who was in Garoua-Boulaï, an area bordering CAR, over the weekend to assess the situation, says he is worried that the influx of refugees could constitute a security risk.

    As of December last year, Cameroon was already host to more than 316,000 CAR refugees, according to the UNHCR.

    A voluntary repatriation process had been under way, but the recent spike in violence means that process has to be stalled.

  3. CAR imposes night-time curfew amid rebellion claims

    Bangui at sunset, in December 2020.

    The president of the Central African Republic has announced a nightly curfew across the country as his government grapples with an insurgency from armed groups.

    President Faustin-Archange Touadéra said the curfew would be in place from 20:00 local time to 05:00, but it's unclear how long it will last.

    Mr Touadéra won a second term in December in a disputed election.

    Fighting has continued in towns nationwide, with the rebels threatening to march on the capital, Bangui.

    The government has accused the former President François Bozizé, who was barred from standing in the poll, of staging an attempted coup.

    The rebel offensive was halted after Russia and Rwanda sent in hundreds of troops to back the government and the UN peacekeeping force.

    Mr Bozizé has denied the allegations but said he supported the rebels.

    Prosecutors have launched an investigation, accusing Mr Bozizé of acts of destabilisation and rebellion.

    Rebels signed a peace deal following a civil war that erupted in 2013 but that has been imperfectly observed and they still control two-thirds of the Central African Republic.

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  4. Central African President Touadéra wins re-election

    Central African Republic President Faustin-Archange Touadera addresses the media outside a polling station
    Image caption: President Touadéra rejected calls from the opposition to postpone the vote

    The President of the Central African Republic, Faustin-Archange Touadéra, has been re-elected after securing nearly 54% of the votes.

    The electoral commission said the results made a second round run-off unnecessary.

    Former prime minister, Anicet George Pologuele, finished a distant second with just 21% of the votes, while Martin Ziguele finished third with 7% of the votes.

    There were a total of 16 candidates running for president - including three women.

    Opposition candidates have said the election was riddled with massive irregularities.

    The vote took place despite an offensive by a coalition of armed rebel groups which left thousands unable to cast their ballots.

    The government has accused the former President François Bozizé, who was barred from standing in the poll, of staging an attempted coup.

    He's denied the allegations but said he supported the rebels.

    Prosecutors have launched an investigation, accusing Mr Bozizé of acts of destabilisation and rebellion.

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  5. Prosecutors investigate CAR's former president

    Mary Harper

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    Prosecutors in the Central African Republic have launched an investigation into former President François Bozizé, accusing him of acts of destabilisation and rebellion.

    Last month, the government accused him of staging an attempted coup as a coalition of rebels marched on the capital, Bangui, ahead of a general election.

    Mr Bozizé, who was barred from standing in the 27 December poll, denied the allegations but said he supported the rebels.

    The United Nations force in the CAR says the rebel advance has been halted.

    On Sunday, militias seized the key border town of Bangassou causing thousands of civilians to flee.

    Bangassou in December 2020
    Image caption: Militias seized Bangassou on Sunday, pictured here in December
  6. CAR opposition call for poll repeat

    Killian Ngala

    BBC News, Yaoundé

    A voter
    Image caption: Election day was marred by reports of insecurity

    Opposition parties in the Central African Republic have called for a re-run of Sunday's election saying it was marred by insecurity and fraud.

    Ten parties, known as the Democratic Opposition Coalition, say only about a third of all voters were able to take part.

    The country is still extremely fragile as a result of the civil war that broke out after a coup in 2013.

    Militias still control about two thirds of the country.

    In the days before the election some of the militias launched an offensive and advanced towards the capital Bangui in what appeared to be an attempt to postpone the vote.

  7. UN retakes CAR town from rebels

    BBC World Service

    The United Nations says the town of Bambari in the Central African Republic (CAR) has been retaken from rebels who seized it on Tuesday.

    A spokesperson said UN peacekeepers and national security forces were in control, having pushed the militants back into the bush.

    He said civilians who had fled the fighting were starting to return.

    The CAR is due to hold elections on Sunday.

    The government has accused the former president, François Bozizé, of joining up with armed groups in an attempt to stage a coup - something he has denied.

    Russia and Rwanda have sent hundreds of additional troops to bolster the government, as the rebels try to advance towards the capital Bangui.

    Watch: Why is Russia cosying up to the CAR?

    Video content

    Video caption: Russia and the Central African Republic: A curious relationship
  8. CAR refugees return home from Cameroon

    Killian Ngala

    BBC News, Yaoundé

    A second group of refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR) has voluntarily left Cameroon to return home.

    The repatriation of the 200 refugees was overseen by UNHCR representative in Cameroon, Olivier Guillaume Beer, in the presence of Cameroon's local government representative, Laurence Diyen Jam.

    "We plan to repatriate at least 1,500 CAR refugees from Cameroon by the end of December," Mr Beer said.

    The CAR has faced instability since gaining independence from France in 1960. It is holding national elections later this month.

    Read more about CAR

  9. Cameroon arrests dozens of suspected hostage-takers

    Killian Ngala

    BBC News, Yaoundé

    A map showing Cameroon's Adamawa and North regions, and the neighbouring countries of Nigeria, Chad and Central African Republic.

    Thirty-three people have been arrested on suspicion of taking hostages and selling contraband goods in Cameroon's North and Adamawa regions.

    Motorbikes and illegal drugs were also confiscated in the operation code-named Adano, the military says.

    A spokesman said there had been a recent spike in criminal activity in the northern regions' borders with Nigeria and the Central African Republic (CAR) - including trafficking of various forms and customs fraud.

    Cameroon's northern regions have become focal points for kidnappers, with cattle breeders there being the main targets.

    In 2018 alone, at least 250 people were kidnapped in Adamawa and North regions, several of them killed by their kidnappers, according to the Association for the Promotion of Animal Husbandry in the Sahel and Savannah.

    The kidnapping crisis began in 2013 at the height of CAR's civil conflict.

    Rebels from CAR and Chad involved in the war, with the complicity of local criminals, began kidnapping cattle breeders and demanding ransoms.

    Some $3.6m (£2.8m) has been paid in ransom between 2015 and 2018, according to several breeders' associations.

  10. Pope baptises twins after surgery to separate them

    Ermine Nzotto from the Central African Republic beams as she holds daughters Ervina and Prefina. The previously conjoined twins, whose skulls were fused together, underwent surgery in Italy's Vatican City days before.
    Image caption: Ervina and Prefina, pictured last month with their mother, were born conjoined

    Italian news agencies report that previously conjoined twins have been baptised by Pope Francis in the Vatican City.

    Ervina and Prefina, whose skulls were fused together, underwent surgery there last month.

    Their mother Ermine Nzotto is from the Central African Republic (CAR). Soon after the operation, she told local media she was keen for the Pope to baptise her daughters because "he has always taken care of the children of Bangui".

    A photo taken at Friday's ceremony has been shared by former CAR minister Antoinette Montaigne:

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