The situation in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic (CAR), is “apocalyptic”. According to former Prime Minister Martin Ziguélé, the rebel forces have surrounded the city. They now control two thirds of the country.
Violence is brewing in the Central African Republic, where rebels are gaining ground.Two-thirds of the country is in their hands.Former Prime Minister Martin Ziguélé sounded the alarm saying that the fighting was daily throughout the country and that he could not leave Bangui without an armed escort.According to figures from the United Nations, more than 200,000 people have fled their homes since the conflict broke out last month.
Government forces supported by UN, Russian and Rwandan troops are currently defending the city, which has been in a state of emergency since the beginning of January. At least 12,000 peacekeepers are already on the ground in CAR.
For Martin Ziguélé, the main concern for the moment is to secure the main supply route between Bangui and eastern Cameroon. “I cannot leave Bangui without a heavily armed military escort,” he said, calling the situation “Apocalyptic.” A UNHCR spokesman in Geneva said the rebel attacks had hampered humanitarian access to Bangui and that many people are now facing “disastrous conditions”.
The rebel forces currently surrounding Bangui are challenging the validity of the re-election of President Faustin Archange Touadéra in December.
During his first address to the Nation after his official re-election, President Touadéra called for national reconciliation and reached out to the democratic opposition. On the other hand, he strongly condemned the rebel offensive launched eight days before the presidential election. “The alleged perpetrators, co-authors and accomplices of these unspeakable crimes against the Central African people will be sought, arrested and brought before the competent courts,” he said.
He accused former President François Bozizé, whose presidential candidacy had been invalidated by the Constitutional Court, of being behind the rebels, of having gathered the means and set fire to the country.
Since they vowed to “march on Bangui,” the rebels had been carrying out sporadic but sometimes violent attacks, usually far from the capital, even though two simultaneous attacks of about 200 assailants were repelled on 13 January in Bangui.