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

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' 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.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs