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

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

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