Support convoy arrives in CAR capital after rebels blockade | Human Rights Information

According to the UN, 14 trucks reached Bangui after a 50-day blockade by rebels who had cut off the city’s lifeline.

An aid convoy has reached the capital of the Central African Republic (CAR) after a 50-day blockade by rebels who cut off the city’s lifeline.

On December 19, armed groups launched an offensive against the capital Bangui, cutting off a major highway that left more than 1,500 trucks stranded on the border with neighboring Cameroon.

“Fourteen trucks, nine of them from the United Nations World Food Program,” said Lt. Col. Abdoulaziz Fall, spokesman for the MINUSCA peacekeeping mission.

As one of the poorest countries in the world, the Central African Republic has been violent since 2013, when then-President Francois Bozize was overthrown.

The resulting war divided the country largely on religious and ethnic lines, causing thousands of deaths and causing about a quarter of the population to flee their homes.

Armed groups that emerged during the conflict now control about two-thirds of the country.

President Faustin-Archange Touadera is heavily dependent on UN forces as well as on military personnel dispatched from Russia and Rwanda.

Anti-Touadera groups have formed an alliance ahead of the presidential and parliamentary elections on December 27th.

Their advance on Bangui was halted, but they kept a chokehold on the key road to the city to prevent trucks from bringing groceries and other supplies.

The road is essential to almost all imports of CAR, and the price of some raw materials has increased by at least 50 percent in some places.

“The first trucks from Cameroon arrived in Bangui accompanied by MINUSCA,” said Fall.

In addition to the nine food trucks, “the other trucks are equipped for MINUSCA,” he said.

Last month, Touadera was declared the election winner after gaining 53.16 percent of the vote in the first round, an overall majority that eliminated the need for a runoff.

But the country’s political opposition dismissed its victory as a sham – the turnout was just 35.25 percent of the electorate.

Hundreds of thousands of voters were unable to cast their votes, especially in areas controlled by rebel groups.

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