Voting begin the CAR amid fears of violence

Bangui, Dec 27 (efe-epa).- Polling stations opened in the Central African Republic on Sunday amid the spectre of violence and the threat of rebel groups advancing on the capital, Bangui.

Voters are being asked to choose a presidential candidate and 140 lawmakers.

Large lines of people had formed outside polling stations in Bangui in the early morning, although some had delayed their opening due to a lack of voting material.

Both Russia, which trains the CAR armed forces, and Rwanda, which supplies troops through the United Nations’ peacekeeping program MINUSCA, have deployed hundreds of soldiers in recent days in a bid to curb any election day violence.

The UN mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) sent 300 Rwandan blue helmets to the former French colony on Christmas Eve. Since 2013, rebel militias have controlled about two-thirds of the CAR.

On the list of presidential candidates is favorite Faustin Archange Touadéra, who is seeking a second term, having been in power since 2016. His main opposition, Anicet Georges Dologuelé, has the backing of former president François Bozizé.

On 3 December, the country’s constitutional court scrapped the candidacy of Bozizé, who is accused of crimes against humanity. Armed groups loyal to the political figure said they would reject the election and have since intensified a campaign of violence.

On 25 December, armed men killed three blue helmets who had been sent from Burundi and injured two others in a brace of attacks in Dekoa, in the country’s center, and Bakuma, in the south.

It came just hours after a new opposition force comprising several rebel groups, dubbed the Coalition of Patriots for Change, announced it was no longer observing a ceasefire.

The CPC last week launched a militarized campaign and threatened to take the capital city in what the current government termed a coup attempt by Bozizé, who denies the accusation.

Related Articles

Back to top button