Combatants of the Central African Patriotic Movement (MPC) and the Return, Reclamation, Rehabilitation (3R) rebel movements occupying the town of Nanga Boguila midway between the towns of Bossangoa and Paoua since September 27, 2020, have defied an ultimatum to leave the area.
The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) had asked the rebels to quit the locality before October 26, 2020.
Instead, the rebels have spread out to other localities and are currently occupying several neighbouring villages to Nanga Boguila. A most disturbing aspect to this expansion is the fact that the rebels have now mounted roadblocks on the highways to extort money from road users.
On Friday, October 23, 2020, a mission led by the Prefect of Ouham, escorted by MINUSCA forces arrived in Naga Boguila town to negotiate with the rebels. After the negotiations, the rebels were asked to leave the town before October 26, 2020.
According to UN sources in the area, on Saturday, October 24, 2020, barely 24 hours after the UN ultimatum, the rebels split into three groups with the first group remaining in Nanga Boguila. The second group erected roadblocks on the Baya highway, one kilometre from the road leading to Bavera, where they set up a base in the Zongo school compound. The third group is now based on the east of the town on the Bodjomo highway about 10km from Nanga Boguila.
On the two highways occupied by the rebels, they have set up roadblocks where they demand and receive various sums of money from road users.
“With this new tactic of the rebels, the local populations are worried over the sincerity of the local authorities who have been insisting that they would compel the rebels to leave the area before the December 27, 2020 general elections,” a resident of Nanga Boguila told HumAngle on Tuesday.
Local authorities say most of the rebels came to the area from Bogodo and Bogaza villages situated on the Nana Bakassa highway about 25km to 30km from Boguila where there is a disorganised exploitation of gold by armed groups.
“Frightened villagers have stopped attending the Boria and Nana Baria weekly markets which have closed down since the arrival of the rebels in the region.
“Transportation along the highways has dwindled to a virtual standstill as motorbike riders who usually ply the roads now avoid going there because of the exactions from the rebel fighters,” a local official who pleaded anonymity for fear of repercussions from the rebel combatants, told HumAngle in Paoua on Tuesday.