17, January 2021
United Nations peacekeeping troops have retaken control of a city in the south eastern Central African Republic (CAR), which was captured by armed rebels two weeks ago.
A spokesman for the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) told AFP that the peacekeeping forces were in control of Bangassou, lying on the north bank of the Mbomou River.
The spokesman said that the rebels had abandoned their positions following a UN ultimatum on Friday.
Bangassou was captured early this month by armed groups waging an offensive against troops loyal to President Faustin Archange Touadera.
Touadera, who gained power following the December presidential election, accuses former president Francois Bozize of leading the armed rebellion wreaking havoc in CAR.
Bozize, who had gained power in a coup in 2003, recently returned after years in exile. He was barred from running in the election by the country’s top court and faces charges of murder, arbitrary arrest, and torture.
The African country with a population of 4.7 million has endured waves of violence since Bozize, 74, was toppled in 2013.
The violence has left thousands of people dead and forced more than a million from their homes.
UN peacekeepers, who have been deployed to restore peace and stability to CAR, come from about a dozen countries and consist of some 11,650 blue-cap troops, 150 military observers, 300 staff officers, 2,000 police officers and 1,400 civilian personnel, in addition to about 200 UN volunteers.
Since 2014, 82 members of MINUSCA have lost their lives during their mission in CAR.
The former European colony is landlocked between Cameroon, Chad, Sudan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo.
Despite being rich in energy and mineral resources, CAR is one of the world’s most impoverished countries.