The rebels of the Return, Reclamation, Rehabilitation (3R) movement in the Central African Republic have forced the closure of some schools in the country and banned the conduct of end-of-year examinations in others.
The schools affected are in the pastoral council area of Niem in the prefecture of Nana-Mambere, where the group, led by the Cameroonian self-proclaimed General, Abass Sidiki, has ordered that all schools be closed and examinations that students were preparing to write, be suspended.
The rebel fighters burst into schools and classrooms in Niem where final year pupils of primary schools were preparing to sit for the entrance examination to secondary schools and chased out pupils and teachers from classrooms.
Community leaders are surprised that the rebels allowed the exams to go on in the neighbouring pastoral council of Yelewa.
Contacted by telephone, the headmaster of the school refused to make a statement but local sources revealed that the 3R rebel movement had yet to allow the reopening of classes in the pastoral council of Nana-Mambere.
Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, all schools, including universities in Central African Republic, were ordered closed by the government for health reasons.
Three months afterwards, the Ministry of Primary Education authorised the reopening of schools. However, in certain localities controlled by armed groups, where the security situation remains of grave concern, the minister’s decision has remained a dead letter. In these areas, only the orders of armed groups are respected.
The 3R rebel movement has continued to remain one of the main obstacles to peace in the Central African Republic with its combatants disrupting preparations for presidential elections due on December 27 and harassing local communities in the areas where they hold sway.