The United Nations Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Central African Republic accused the army and its Russian allies of abuses against the population, including against elected officials, on Monday.
Government forces (are) responsible for arbitrary arrests and detentions, violations of the right to life, physical and mental integrity, and abuses at roadblocks,” Yao Agbetse said in a statement after
a ten-day visit to the country.
It also accuses "
Russian bilateral forces, including those engaged jointly with the Central African Armed Forces (...) of inflicting cruel, inhuman, humiliating and degrading treatment on the civilian population
Unacceptable Russian obstruction
The expert, mandated by the Human Rights Council but who does not speak on behalf of the UN, considers that
" of the operations of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (Minusca) by Russian forces "
is unacceptable and must stop
Thanks to the vacuum created by the departure of the largest French troops from the Central African Republic, Moscow dispatched “
” to the country in 2018, then hundreds of paramilitaries in 2020 at the request of Bangui, faced with a threatening rebellion .
A former colonial power, France had deployed more than a thousand soldiers in the country in 2013, with the green light from the UN, to put an end to inter-community violence.
The last French soldiers left the country at the end of 2022, a withdrawal decided by Paris in June 2021 in the face of the growing role of the Russian paramilitary group Wagner in this country in civil war since 2013.
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According to Yao Agbetse, allegations of kidnappings, sequestrations and summary executions of civilians are made against these Russian forces, in particular in the prefecture of Mambéré-Kadéï.
Those who occupy positions of State authority, in particular prefects, sub-prefects, mayors, as well as members of the police, the gendarmerie and the FACA (Central African Armed Forces, editor’s note), are also subjected to torture and ill-treatment by Russian bilateral forces
,” he said.
In his statement, he asks the government to verify these allegations, to send teams on the spot and to carry out impartial investigations.
During the last quarter of 2022, the Human Rights Division of Minusca documented and verified 483 human rights and humanitarian law violations that affected 1,300 civilian victims, according to the expert.
Internal security forces, FACA and allied bilateral forces were responsible for 58% of the violations resulting in 70% of casualties, with the rest of the violations attributed to armed groups, he added.