Combatants of the Central African Republic rebel movement, the Unite pour la paix en Centrafrique (UPC) who have been occupying the town of Mobaye in Lower Kotto have refused to leave the town unless they are paid 2 million FCFA (about$4,000) by traders and business people in the town.
The negotiations for the rebels’ departure from the town which started Monday, March 22, fell through when the business community said they could only raise the sum of 200,000 FCFA (about US$400) to give to the rebels.
“The UPC rebels who are members of the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) and who have been making life very difficult for traders and business people in Mobaye, have threatened to move their actions into a higher gear if their demands are not met,” a resident who did not give his name for safety reasons told HumAngle.
“They say by midday today, Wednesday, March 24, if we do not meet their demands, we would live to regret for a very long time,” a trader in the town said.
Last week, several rebels left Mobaye for an unknown destination following rumours of the imminent arrival of soldiers of the Central African Republic national army, FACA and their Rwandan and Russian allies who are already in the Alindao sub-district within Bass-Kotto.
“The UPC rebels now harassing the people in Mobaye are renegade combatants of the rebel movement. They are very vicious and give little value to human life,” the source said with grave concern.
HumAngle learnt that leaders in Mobaye have since been in contact with government authorities in Alindao to come to the rescue of the people.
But their appeals seem not to have made any impact.
“Negotiations are however still continuing between the business community here and the UPC rebels and it is hoped that some middle ground would be reached before the jittery rebels become trigger happy,” a local civil society leader told HumAngle.
As the clock ticks to midday today, Wednesday, March 24, being the deadline given by the rebels for the ransom money to be paid, tension continues to rise with increasing fear that hell might break loose if the money is not raised within the remaining time.