YAOUNDE — Truck drivers who transport humanitarian aid from Cameroon to the troubled Central African Republic (CAR) have halted deliveries after suspected Seleka rebels attacked killed three of their colleagues. The truckers say they will not go back to work unless authorities in the C.A.R. can assure them of their safety.
Frustrated drivers are expressing anger that African peacekeepers in the Central African Republic have not protected them from the country's rebels and militia groups.
One of the drivers, 52-year-old Danjuma Bello, told VOA that he had taken the advice of the transporters' union and will not carry goods to the C.A.R.
He said they were taken unaware when armed men attacked them and started shooting. He said his vehicle has holes where bullets penetrated.
Bello said he narrowly missed death in last Sunday's attack. But three of his peers were killed.
The drivers, who transport food, relief items and other goods from Cameroon's seaport, Douala, say they have been victims of persistent attacks from both Seleka rebels and their anti-Balaka rivals.
The president of the drivers' union, El Hadj Oumarou, told VOA that after the incident, he ordered union members to halt their deliveries.
He said their drivers were slaughtered and they suspended the transportation of goods to the C.A.R., to bury their dead before examining what to do next.
The union is insisting that African peacekeepers accompany and protect the drivers on the road into the capital, Bangui. Oumarou said if that doesn't happen, the C.A.R. may not be getting supplies by road for a long time to come.
The landlocked C.A.R. depends on the Douala seaport for about 95 percent of its supplies. For now, only a number of truckers who are not members of the union still brave the road to Bangui.
Twenty truck drivers have been killed along the road to Bangui since the unrest in the C.A.R. began.