In Photos: Panic grips Bangui residents after insurgent assault | Central African Republic Information
Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic (CAR), is tense after armed rebels launched a coordinated attack on the outskirts of the city on Wednesday evening.
The attack – the first in the capital since the December 27 elections – was repulsed by the UN mission and government troops.
“I’m under tension at the moment,” said a Central African Forces soldier who was on guard in Bimbo, a suburb of Bangui that was attacked.
The Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), a group made up of the country’s six most powerful rebel groups who wreaked havoc in the run-up to the country’s parliamentary and presidential elections, has launched sporadic attacks across the country since its inception December 19 Re-election of President Touadera.
Several civilians and some Central African soldiers were reportedly wounded and a UN soldier was killed in the coordinated attack that used rocket grenades (RPGs), automatic rifles and mortars.
The government said at least 30 rebels were killed and five captured.
Sonia, a 35-year-old widow, says she was woken up by gunfire on Wednesday morning in the Bimbo area. “I had to go because it was too dangerous. At least there is a little more security here, ”said Sonia and waited with her children on the side of the road in downtown Bangui. “I don’t even know where I’ll sleep tonight.”
Some civilians told Al Jazeera they fled their homes after hearing gunshots Wednesday.
The UN’s 12,000-strong MINUSCA force strongly condemned the attack and blamed the armed groups for “the consequences of this violence on the civilian population”.
The CPC was accused by the government of instigating a coup.
Former President Francois Bozize, currently under investigation by prosecutors for supporting the CPC, supported the rebels the day before the elections.
The presidential election was marked by violence and low turnout due to threats of violence from the rebels.
President Touadera said in his New Year’s message that the country is at war.
“It is my painful duty to tell you tonight that we are at war. The republic is at war. His survival is threatened, ”he said.
The recent violence has forced nearly 30,000 people to flee to neighboring countries, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency.
“We want peace, we just want peace. We have suffered too much, ”Roselie, a Bangui resident, told Al Jazeera.