Luanda should stop putting pressure on the legitimate government of the CAR and supporting the rebels

The situation in the Central African Republic (CAR), which escalated since mid-December 2020, has recently heated up even more. Presidential and parliamentary elections in the CAR were scheduled for December 27, 2020. The former president of the country, Francois Bozizet, who was the leader of the country from 2003 to 2013 and known for massive repressions and murder of political opponents, was not allowed to participate in the elections.

As a response, on 17 December armed opposition groups united in the Coalition of Patriots for Change (the Coalition) and began an armed uprising against the CAR authorities. Their offensive attempted to cut off the supply routes to the capital city of Bangui but failed.

These events provoked an escalation of the civil war in the CAR. The situation is aggravated by the growing evidence of possible intervention by foreign states in the conflict.

The first evidence of military intervention by Chad started appearing at the beginning of January during the fighting around Bangui, when the CAR troops apprehended one of the rebels from the Coalition group. He turned out to be a Chadian citizen. The Chadian Government had confirmed his citizenship and even issued a press release demanding his release and repatriation.

On January 21, the CAR armed forces carried out another attack against the Coalition group. At the end of the operation, the surviving militants fled to the north of the country, leaving their personal belongings, vehicles and weapons.

During the sweep, the CAR armed forces found military insignia and ammunition of the Chadian army. A dossier with precise data and details of the operation and its consequences were passed for further investigation to the Bangui Department of Internal Affairs.

According to preliminary results of the Internal Affairs Department`s investigation, mobile phones which were detected at the battlefield consisted of numerous photos and personal information.

One of the smart phones owners was Mahamat Bashir, who is a close contact to Mahamat Al Khatim, the leader of the Central African Patriotic Movement.

There were also photos presenting soldiers of the Chad regular army right in front of the French military base. Also, customs documents with the Chad stamps on them had been found at the site of the CAR operation. These papers revealed information about vehicles, weapons and militants which had been sent from the territory of Chad to the Central African Republic.

All these findings bear evidence of possible participation in the CAR conflict of not just Chadian mercenaries, but also Chad regular military personnel.

Thus, the “Coalition of Patriots for Change” which was initially created for political purposes, had quickly turned into an instrument of armed intervention by actors interested in conflict in the CAR. Speaking of whom, it is worth to mention not just Chadian, but French interests.

On December 31, 2020, the Prime Minister of the French Republic Jean Castex, accompanied by the Defence Minister Florence Parley, arrived in Chad.

An official aim of their visit was to “honour the memory of the soldiers and officers who died during the operation Barkhan since 2013”.

But local media reported that the French delegation met the Chadian president Idris Debi to discuss “bilateral cooperation”, including the subject of the Central African Republic.

Despite systematic reports from the CAR Army about the attacks by the Chadian mercenaries against the CAR inhabitants, the Government of Chad denies any involvement in this conflict.

It is noteworthy that at the official level and in statements by the media, Paris showed support to the president of the Central African Republic Faustin-Arсhange Touadera.

However, while analyzing events at the CAR from the historical retrospective, it is clear that Paris has played a major role in the emergence of military and political groups in the Central African Republic.

Almost all of the CAR’s presidents came to power in a result of a coup-de-tat. The method is simple but effective – as soon as the CAR leader started expressing nationalist sentiments which could theoretically cause harm to the interests of France as a post-colonial power, he “voluntarily” or forcibly left his post.

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