Brussels (Brussels Morning) France condemns the violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) in the wake of the election dispute, Reuters reports yesterday, Sunday.
As rebels attacked two towns in the CAR on Saturday, French combat aircraft flew over the area, apparently attempting to deter a push towards the capital of Bangui.
Rebels backed by François Bozizé, former President of the CAR, attacked Bouar and Grimari, some 440 kilometres and 300 kilometres from the capital, respectively.
They had threatened to push towards Bangui and disrupt the general election on 27 December after the country’s top court rejected Bozizé’s candidature. The rebels attacked towns close to the capital but did not reach the city.
Outcome of the election
President Faustin-Archange Touadéra won the election with turnout exceeding 50%, but other candidates disputed the result. The CAR has been embroiled in violent conflicts since 2013, when Bozizé was ousted by a rebellion, with more than one million citizens displaced and thousands killed.
Many opposition candidates called for annulling the election and repeating the vote, pointing to irregularities and poor turnout in the wake of violence. Due to the fighting, approximately half of CAR’s eligible voters managed to register.
According to an unnamed resident, the rebels were pushed back from Bouar on Saturday following the attack earlier in the day, but sporadic gunfire in the town could still be heard. Unnamed residents from Grimari noted that fighting continued in the afternoon, with images shared online showing tens of residents hiding at a cathedral.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s office notes Touadéra called for the fighting, which was approved by the UN peacekeeping mission in the CAR. The office added that Macron condemned the violence and Bozizé in a telephone call with Touadéra.
France has been launching military interventions in the CAR since 2013 and the UN keeps close to 13,000 troops in the country.