News / Africa

CAR Militia Leader Arrested in Congo Brazzaville

People sell clothes at the displaced camp at Mpoko international airport in Bangui, Central African Republic, Feb. 26, 2014.
People sell clothes at the displaced camp at Mpoko international airport in Bangui, Central African Republic, Feb. 26, 2014.
Nick Long
*VOA incorrectly reported Wednesday that anti-Balaka leader Patrice Edouard Ngaissona had been arrested. VOA regrets the error.

The African Union has confirmed the arrest in the Republic of Congo of a leader of the Central African Republic's anti-Balaka armed movement.

The African Union mission to the C.A.R. has confirmed that Patrice Edouard Ngaissona, the self-proclaimed coordinator of the anti-Balaka armed movement, has been arrested with two other men by authorities across the border in Congo Brazzaville.

Ngaissona, who is also president of the country's football federation, appears to have fled the Central African Republic about February 15, when French and African Union peacekeepers captured several of his collaborators during an operation in Bangui to disarm anti-Balaka, whose name means “machete proof,” or “invincible”.

His name and those of several of the movement’s other commanders are on a list of wanted persons issued by C.A.R. prosecutors.

In a statement, the AU mission congratulated the Congolese authorities on the arrest, and said Ngaissona has often told media that he is the political coordinator of the anti-Balaka, who continue to terrorize the civilian population, particularly Muslims, and are a threat to peace.

The International Crisis Group’s C.A.R. analyst, Thierry Vircoulon, commented on the arrest. "It is part of the pressure put on the leadership of one faction of the anti-Balaka - called the CPLC - and Patrick Ngiassona since mid-January was the official representative of this faction in Bangui, and this faction was aligned to the former president [Francois] Bozize and his entourage," he said.

The question is whether the arrest of Ngaissona and other leaders will scare the anti-Balaka into better behavior.

"It will depend basically on how cohesive is the CPLC and the anti-Balaka movement. Some people think there is not much cohesion in this movement and there are a lot of commanders who basically do whatever they want on the ground," said Vircoulon. "So we will see what is the result of these arrests, but definitely it was necessary to put pressure on the leaders of this faction."

The anti-Balaka commanders arrested 10 days ago are still in jail, unlike some of their comrades who were arrested last month and were sprung from jail within a few days.

Vircoulon said the presence of AU peacekeepers at the prison probably has prevented a repeat of that episode.

The anti-Balaka still have a lot of popular support as the only Central African force that put up a fight against the Seleka, the largely Muslim rebel group that seized power in C.A.R. last year and committed many atrocities.  The anti-Balaka have many sympathizers among non-Muslims who are the majority of the population.

They are not militarily very powerful, said Vircoulon, but he suggesed their military threat is not the main problem. "They just have some basic weaponry, but I think the problem right now is the international security forces are not adapted to this kind of threat. They are posing more of a police problem than a military problem at this stage."

Bangui and the rest of the country currently have very few police. Vircoulon said  more policing capability should be a high priority for the peacekeeping forces in the country.

You May Like

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: US Army Turns Its Best Minds Toward Ebola

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

Dissident Venezuelan General Resurfaces in New York

Antonio Rivero has resurfaced after nearly a year in hiding, appearing at United Nations in New York More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Goghi
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid