The rebel Popular Front for the Renaissance of Central Africa (PFRC) is contesting the disarmament, demobilisation, reinsertion and repatriation (DDRR) programme currently going on in Central African Republic (CAR).
The programme, which was worked out between the United Nations and the CAR government, is aimed at disarming and resettling combatants of the various armed groups in the country.
It provides alternatives to violence to combatants in nine municipalities in the country and is couched on cash-for-work and income generating activities for ex-combatants.
However, when a mission for sensitisation and concertation with the armed groups arrived in Bria in the Upper-Kotto Prefecture on September 1, 2020, after carrying out a similar exercise in Kaga-Bandoro, it was vigorously opposed by operatives of PFRC.
“The mission of Djono (a government minister) which arrived in Toumou is a fraudulent mission.
“We are not refusing the putting in place of Unites Speciales Mxtes de Securite (USMS) – Special Mixed Security Units. As three prefectures are in conflict, it is incumbent on government to reconcile them first. It is after that that we can call on Bangui to send us the forms for the combatants of the PFRC who are not only in Bria, but also in Ouadda, Sam-Ouandja, Birao, Amdafock and Kaga-Bandoro.
“ When the forms arrive, we shall distribute them so that our fighters can fill them. It would not be as they who came with a spirit of nepotism by blocking journalists who were present on that day from doing their job, and who also refused to allow the Anti-Balaka to speak.
“The PFRC is a big movement. It is not a small movement that someone can exploit commercially.
“We do not want money, but rather the amelioration of the lives of the population of the north,” declared the former zonal commander of PFRC in Bria, General Houstat Ali.
Ali described the mission as window dressing, though the chief of the government mission, Minister Djono-Aba, said the number of armed groups which had yet to submit the list of their combatants to be disarmed was very negligible.
During the meeting between Djono-Aba with the armed groups in Bria, namely the PFRC, the Movement of Central African Liberators for Justice (MLJC) and the Mouvement Patriotique pour la Centrafrique (MPC) who participants were comfortable with the disarmament programme.
However, the PFRC, Anti-Balaka and the Parti du Rassemblement de la Nation Centrafricaine (PRNC) stuck to their positions and refused the disarmament offer, including the money proposed during the meeting.