There is a fear of an imminent clash between government forces and the rebels in Bria town of the Central African Republic, after soldiers shot an unarmed rebel.
The rebel fighter, identified as Younous, was Monday March 22, shot at a close range by soldiers of the Central African Republic army popularly known as FACA, on a street in downtown Bria.
Local sources said Younous was a fighter with the Popular Front for the Rebirth of the Central African Republic (FPRC) before joining the forces of the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC).
He was reported to have arrived at Bria over the weekend at a time when the presence of rebels in the town was rare.
“He did not seem to have noticed that he was not welcome in the town and he even dared to ride on his motorbike with ‘CPC’ written on the registration plate. He was dressed in military fatigues but was not armed,” a resident who declined to be named told HumAngle.
“FACA fighters who felt he might have been on a reconnaissance mission spotted him and shot him dead on the street.”
It was later discovered that his family lives in Bria and he was actually going to visit his family when he was shot dead.
Since the shooting on Monday, tension between FACA combatants and some elements identified as supporters of the CPC, and members of the deceased’s family has mounted to fever pitch.
“Colleagues of the deceased FRPC/CPC fighter have vowed to avenge the death of their comrade in arms, but the question now is how they are going to do that especially as the town is controlled by FACA soldiers,” a local said.
“The few CPC fighters who are in disguise would easily be overrun if they tried anything.”
After the recapture of the town of Ippy by FACA soldiers supported by Rwandan and Russian mercenaries, most of the CPC rebels have left Bria Centre and taken refuge in villages within the periphery such as Yalinga and the mine fields in Upper Kotto.
Late Younous was among the rebel soldiers who captured the town of Bangassou from FACA forces in January this year.