Violence spikes ahead of CAR election results declaration
Share this article:
CAPE TOWN - The National Elections Agency in the Central African Republic (CAR) is expected to declare the results of the presidential election on Monday.
The Central African nation opened its polling stations for presidential and legislative elections on December 27. The elections were held amid political tensions, insecurity and increased human rights violations despite the signing of a peace agreement between the government and 14 armed rebel groups in February last year.
The US embassy in the country said it had received multiple reports that armed groups may continue to disrupt the electoral process in Bangui and nationwide and may seek to move towards Bangui.
“Although there have been no specific incidents of violence or threats targeting US citizens, civil unrest, demonstrations and violence have already occurred and may recur in the period following the election,” the embassy said.
Cautious, the US embassy in Bangui decided to limit staff to mission-critical movements, starting on January 4, for an indefinite period of time, it said.
Rebel fighters in the CAR attacked and partially occupied a diamond-mining town on Sunday, a day before authorities were due to declare the results of the election.
Fighters allied to former president Francois Bozize attacked the city, the UN mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) said in a statement on Twitter.
It said its peacekeepers had been protecting the city and that the bodies of five fighters had been found. Two army soldiers were wounded.
The head of MINUSCA's Bangassou office, Rosevel Pierre Louis, told news agency AFP that the diamond-mining town had been under attack since the early hours of Sunday and that since then the rebels have been in control of the town.
Rebels, whom the government and the UN say are backed by Bozize, launched an offensive last month after the country’s constitutional court rejected Bozize’s candidacy to challenge incumbent President Faustin-Archange Touadera in last Sunday’s vote.
Bozize’s party officially denies he is working with the rebels, but some in the party have suggested they are working together.
Threats and attacks by the rebels kept more than 14% of polling stations closed on election day, international broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.
The country descended into chaos in 2013 when mostly Muslim rebels ousted Bozize, sparking reprisals from mostly Christian militias.
Bozize’s candidacy was rejected because he faces an arrest warrant and UN sanctions for allegedly ordering assassinations and torture while president. Bozize has denied those charges.