Five young men were Saturday morning abducted by rebels in Cantonnier, a Central African Republic town, sharing a border with Cameroon.
According to eyewitness accounts, the abduction took place near Motel Kadei in the centre of the town where rebels of a yet to be identified armed group had arrived at about 4:40 p.m the previous day.
The abducted men were believed to be between 16 and 19 years of age.
“There is total panic and desolation within the families of the kidnapped youths. The families are putting the blame for the incident on the national army for not protecting the populations enough,” a civil society activist who opted for anonymity for fear of reprisals from the army, told HumAngle.
There are speculations in Cantonnier that the young men were kidnapped because they manifested joy on the arrival of the national army and Russian mercenaries in the locality.
All the youths were handcuffed before being taken to an unknown destination. Some believe that the kidnapped youths have been taken across the border to Cameroon.
Russian mercenaries based in Beloko are reported to have arrived in Cantonnier Sunday and intended to track down the kidnappers in order to free the hostages.
Soldiers of the national army supported by Russian and Rwandan mercenaries took total control of the Bangui-Beloko and Cantonnier corridor some days ago.
However, they have since their arrival been based in Beloko and not Cantonnier which is the last Central African Republic town before the frontier with Cameroon.