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dozens of civilians killed in Ndélé, in the north of the country

Intercommunity clashes are increasing in a country plagued by armed groups.

The Central African Republic plunges back into violence. In January 2020, inter-community clashes had affected the east of the country, more precisely the city of Bria. Assessment, probably about fifty dead. This time, it is in the north, near the border with Chad, that the country ignites. In Ndélé, the situation is particularly confused. According to RFI, March 6, 2020 already, clashes have taken place between soldiers from the same camp, namely the Popular Front for the Renaissance of the Central African Republic (FPRC), one of the 14 armed groups that have signed a peace agreement with the government. The assassination of a colonel against the backdrop of an inter-community dispute set fire to the powder.

Exchanges of heavy fire made flee the population which gathered around the camp of the Blue Helmets of the Minusca. Several hundred people were camping there, including the regional prefect, Commander Amine Al-Mahad, who had to be exfiltrated after the attack on his residence. The human toll of this first skirmish has not been established.

Calm seemed to return when, on March 11, clashes resumed. And this time, they were murderous. “Local sources told me about 40 dead, maybe there are more”, said the prefect to the Turkish news agency Anadolu Agency. He is still a refugee in the Minusca camp, among hundreds of his fellow citizens. The police station, the gendarmerie, part of the Ndélé market and many houses were also burned down, according to the president of the Central African Red Cross in Bangui, Antoine Mbao-Bogo. The wounded numbered in the tens and the victims were mainly civilian.

The deployment of UN forces has brought about a return to calm, but the situation remains very tense and there are now 3,000 inhabitants who have left their homes to place themselves under the protection of the Minusca.

It is also impossible to know the fate of those who fled into the bush. UN humanitarians – almost 140 are blocked in their encampment because the situation is too dangerous to be able to go out in order to draw up a balance sheet of the fighting.

From reprisals to reprisals, the two communities Goula and Rounga clash. Moreover, according to RFI, the Minusca attributes these attacks to the Goula “branch” of the FPRC, without knowing for the moment the precise reasons for these clashes. Already in June 2018, the city of Ndélé had been the scene of fighting which had resulted in the deaths of some 20 people including civilians. At the time, it was the arrest of cattle thieves by FPRC men that caused the clashes when well-armed accomplices wanted to free the thieves.

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