News / Africa

Former Rebel Fighters Go Missing in CAR

A former Seleka soldier holds his weapon as he keeps guard from a vehicle during an operation of transferring all former Seleka soldiers from their main base Camp de Roux to a smaller base in the north of the capital Bangui on January 27, 2014.
A former Seleka soldier holds his weapon as he keeps guard from a vehicle during an operation of transferring all former Seleka soldiers from their main base Camp de Roux to a smaller base in the north of the capital Bangui on January 27, 2014.
Nick Long
— A large group of ex-rebel fighters appears to have gone missing in the Central African Republic, according to the African Union military mission in the country. 

A spokesman for the African Union mission says a number of combatants from Seleka, the largely Muslim ex-rebel movement, left the C.A.R. capital over the last two days with a convoy of AU Chadian troops, heading towards the north of the country .

But spokesman Eloi Yao said when the Chadians arrived at Bossangoa, 350 kilometers north of Bangui, the Seleka fighters were no longer with them.

Numerous reports have suggested many of the Seleka are in fact Chadian or Sudanese mercenaries, so they may have felt the departure of AU troops was a signal for them to leave too.

AU Chadian troops have in the past two months been accused of taking sides with the Seleka in their fight against largely Christian militias known as anti-Balaka.

Yao said there are estimates of hundreds of Seleka leaving Bangui with the Chadians this week.  But most probably remain in Bangui, he said.  Their number was put at 6,000.

A military spokesman for the Seleka in Bangui, Mahamat Doungba, said in an interview with VOA that the soldiers want to join the C.A.R. army.

He says all their fighters are ready to join a national army.  Some, he said, are also ready to be disarmed and demobilized, while others are determined to join the army because they want to serve their country.

Doungba was asked what the foreign fighters with the Seleka intend to do.

They have all left, he replied.  All those who are here now, Doungba said, are Central Africans. All the foreigners have already left.

It is not clear whether the Seleka combatants who left Bangui are leaving the country or have taken up positions in towns to the north of Bangui.

Rebels still control strategic towns across the country, but have pulled out of some towns in the west where they have been coming under attack from the anti-Balaka militia.

A new government was announced Tuesday, consisting of 20 ministers, including seven women, three former members of the Seleka alliance, and one individual associated with the anti-Balaka.

Observers agree the new ministers are mostly technocrats chosen for their expertise.  A few were ministers in previous governments, but not many seem to be party political appointments.  The new interim president and prime minister are not themselves party politicians.  

A spokesman and self-proclaimed military coordinator of the anti-Balaka, former government minister Joachin Kokate, told VOA that the movement wants the crisis in the C.A.R. to end.

He says our members are in an emotional state, but movement leaders are calling on them to stay calm.  He says he is sure there will be a response from the head of state or the prime minister whereby everyone on both sides will find an occupation so as to end this crisis, which, he said, has gone on long enough.

But an unconfirmed report said at least seven people were killed Tuesday in Bangui, and several others died Monday, while other attacks, particularly against the Muslim minority, are reported in the provinces.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid