CAR: Bakouma Under MINUSCA

The withdrawal by FPRC fighters followed an international outcry over the suffering of displaced local people.

“Front populaire pour la renaissance de la Centrafrique,” FPRC, a rebel group in the Central African Republic, CAR that broke off from the defunct Séléka militia, on January 16, 2019 completed the pull-out of its combatants from the south-eastern uranium mining town of Bakouma. FPRC and UPC rebels overran the town on December 31, 2018, sending 12,000 residents fleeing into surrounding bushes. After unsuccessful entreaties from the authorities and the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the country, MINUSCA, FPRC leader, Noureddine Adam, finally ordered the troop pull-out, Radio France International, RFI reported.

The rebels withdrew with their weapons and luggage to Nzako to the north of Bakouma where they set up headquarters after occupying Bakouma for two weeks. A spokesperson for FPRC, Aboubakar Sidick Ali, confirmed that the last rebel convoy left the town at 5 am on January 16, 2019. It was then that MINUSCA peacekeepers and CAR army troops, FACA, entered Bakouma. Noureddine Adam gave or ders for his troops to withdraw “in response to calls by the international community and in order to give current peace efforts a chance,” Aboubakar Sidick Ali explained.

The United Nations and the African Union had strongly condemned the rebel takeover of Bakouma at the time its officials were in the country to lay the groundwork for peace talks between the government and armed groups in Khartoum, Sudan on January 24, 2019. Pierrette Bengere, the Prefect for Mbomou, under which Bakouma falls, expressed joy at the development. “It is a very good piece of news for the 12,000 residents who fled the town at the approach of the rebels,” Bengere said.

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