Al Jazeera reports that in the Central African Republic rebels were pushed back after they launched two attacks on the outskirts of the capital, Bangui.
Prime Minister Firmin Ngrebada said in a Facebook post: “The attackers who came in large numbers to take Bangui have been vigorously pushed back.” He urged residents of the city to remain calm. Terrified residents, fearing stray bullets, stayed home.
The synchronized assaults on army units took place at dawn on Wednesday. Al Jazeera reports that these had been the first rebel attacks near the capital since President Faustin Archange Touadera was re-elected in December, indicating a marked escalation in fighting. Rebel groups attacked towns close to Bangui last month. However, they did not succeed in reaching the capital. The fighting had erupted following December’s disputed election.
Wednesday’s dawn attacks were the latest since the CAR’s six most powerful rebel groups formed an alliance. These groups, according to Al Jazeera, control two-thirds of the CAR. Despite them having launched an offensive to prevent Touadera’s re-election, he nevertheless won the vote.
Meanwhile, an investigation into former President Francois Bozize has been launched, after the government accused him of plotting a coup with the help of armed groups.
Umm Muhammed Umar