Opposition groups in the Central African Republic, say that a rebel group attacked a village in the northwest part of the country on Tuesday, killing at least two government troops and a civilian. Reports of the attacks come after a truce was declared last month by President Faustin Archange Touadera that he said aimed at fostering a national dialogue.
A 12-party opposition alliance called COD-2020 also says the 3R armed group last Thursday attacked the village of Letele in Bocaranga district, about 500 kilometres from the capital Bangui.
“COD-2020 condemns this violent action by the 3R… (and) urges the president to take the appropriate practical measures so that the ceasefire is respected by both sides,” it said in a statement.
President Touadera on October 15 this year declared a “unilateral ceasefire” after pro-government forces made gains against rebel groups that previously controlled some two thirds of the territory. The main armed groups said they would also honour the truce; however several rebel groups have since accused Touadera’s forces of violating the ceasefire, although it has been difficult to verify the allegations.
Touadera’s government in the recent past has received support from hundreds of Russian paramilitaries and Rwandan troops, who rushed to the country last December to thwart a rebel advance on Bangui. Following the December intervention, Pro-government forces then went on the offensive, recovering all of the major towns and pushing the rebels back into forest sanctuaries. Despite their losses, the rebel groups, often claiming to represent the interests of specific ethnic groups, remain powerful.
CAR has seen recurrent rounds of rebel violence since former president Francois Bozize was ousted in 2013. Armed groups are said to control large swathes of territory, and about one-quarter of the nearly 5 million population has been displaced.
The CAR is described as one of the poorest countries in the world, despite having mineral treasures that range from gold and diamonds to copper and uranium.