The Central African Republic (CAR) has declared a state of emergency as the army and UN forces prepare to repel rebel forces advancing towards the capital city of Bangui as they plan to overthrow the government.
The anti-government forces already control two-thirds of the country and have surrounded the capital, Bangui ready to attack at moments notice given an opportunity. The UN envoy to CAR has warned the country was “at grave risk.”
The rebels, who are said to be planning an attack on Bangui dispute the validity of President Faustin Archange Touadéra’s re-election in last month’s poll as they believe the elections weren’t fair at all, and don’t approve his ability to rule the country.
The authorities have accused former President François Bozizé, who was blocked from running in the 27 December election, for the escalating violence.
“The perpetrators… of these unforgettable crimes against the people of CAR will be found, arrested and brought before the competent courts,” President Touadéra said on Monday, while also calling for national reconciliation.
Mr Bozizé, who came to power in 2003 before he was overthrown in 2013, had denied the allegations. At least 6000 civilians have fled the country due to recent fighting that has left many dead and homeless.
The state of emergency declared on Thursday evening will last for 15 days, the government spokesman Albert Yaloke Mokpeme said on national radio.
CAR calls for more UN peacekeepers
He said soldiers will be allowed to make arrests without going through prosecutors. The BBC’s Pacôme Pabandji in Bangui says many residents of the capital are not surprised at the state of emergency given the deteriorating security situation in recent weeks.
According to security sources, the declaration was a necessary step after information obtained from people arrested in the last few days suggested there was an imminent threat to the government.
Mr Ndiaye did not specify the security resources he wanted to be deployed but the Reuters news agency, quoting a source close to the UN mission, Minusca, reported that CAR needed 3,000 extra peacekeepers, attack helicopters and even special forces.
According to Mr Ndiaye, large numbers of government troops have deserted due to insufficient training and resources. At least 12,000 peacekeepers are already on the ground in CAR.
Ahead of the December election, Rwanda and Russia sent in reinforcements to help the government. France has also sent in military resources to back President Touadéra’s government.
Meanwhile, the government is pushing for the lifting of a 2013 UN arms embargo which it sees as an obstacle in its fight against the rebels.
Right now, the situation is very volatile and we can’t tell what could happen in the next few ours
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Author: Allan Bangirana
Allan Bangirana has a taste for all kinds of topics and usually writes about tech, entertainment, sports and community projects that make a difference in society.
He writes for Newslibre and Spur Magazine. He is also the co-founder of the Innovware project and a freelance consultant passionate about technology and web.