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February 9-15, 2015

Weekly Media Monitoring report for the Central African Republic
Posted on February 16, 2015

Contents

Compiled by Christina Murphy

  1. Government minister released by anti-balaka forces
  2. International forces re-take government buildings in Bria; at least four killed 
  3. Ex-Seleka attack on sugar refinery leaves one dead
  4. Intercommunal violence in Bangui's Muslim neighborhoods
  5. Anti-balaka group blocks access to Muslim cemetery in Bangui; one injured

1. Government minister released by anti-balaka forces
Government-owned media

"Le ministre Nicause Karnou Samedi annonce la libération du ministre de la Jeunesse et des Sports, Armel Ningatouloum Sayo". Agence Centrafrique Presse (ACAP), 11 February 2015. In French.

  • M. Nicause Karnou Samedi, minister of security and immigration in the transitional government, announced on 11 February that Armel Sayo, minister of youth and sports in the transitional government, had been freed. Sayo was kidnapped by anti-balaka forces in Bangui on 25 January 2015.
  • In his statement, Samedi thanked religious leaders, MINUSCA forces, government leaders, and members of the community for their assistance and urged "all Central African people to work without rest so that these acts, which honor no one, are not able to be repeated." 
Privately-owned media

"Centrafrique: l'otage Armel Ningatouloum Sayo, enfin libere." Centrafrique Libre, 11 February 2015. In French.

  • Sports and youth minister Armel Sayo was released around midnight on 10 February after sixteen days in captivity.
  • Few details of the events surrounding his release were available at the time of publication.
  • One government source said that "it is a sigh of relief for the transitional government. Catherine Samba-Panza was beginning to be fed up with this kidnapping. They certainly put massive resources into [his release]." 

"Le ministre de la Jeunesse et des Sports enfin libre." Radio Ndeke Luka, 12 February 2015. In French.

  • Sports and youth minister Armel Sayo was freed on 11 February after eighteen days in captivity. He was kidnapped on 25 January in the 8th arrondissement of Bangui by members of an anti-balaka group.
  • Public security minister Nicaise Samedi stated that Sayo's release was achieved following government negotiations and had no conditions attached. 
2. International forces re-take government buildings in Bria; at least four killed
Government-owned media 

RCA: des affrontements à Bria font plusieurs morts." Centrafrique Presse Info, 11 February 2015. In French.

  • Ex-Seleka forces fought with Sangaris and MINUSCA forces in Bria during a MINUSCA-led operation to re-take government buildings in the town on 10 February. 
  • At least six ex-Seleka fighters and several civilians were killed in the fighting. No casualties were reported among the international forces.
  • In addition to regaining the government buildings, the operation also aimed to allow popular consultations to take place in Bria, in the lead-up to the Bangui Forum. Arda Hakouma, leader of the ex-Seleka group in Bria, had previously blocked government envoys from entering the town for these consultations.  

"Le Président du Conseil National de Transition se dit satisfait de l'opération des forces internationales à Bria." Agence Centrafrique Presse (ACAP), 11 February 2015. In French.

  • In a statement released 11 February, the president of the National Transitional Council revealed that he had approved the MINUSCA-led operation in Bria in order to "re-establish the authority of the State in this city and to liberate strategic points...".
  • He also encouraged international forces to launch similar operations in the cities of Bambari, Kaga Bandoro, and Ndélé, all of which continue to be occupied by "negative forces". 
Privately-owned media

"Des bâtiments publics repris par les forces internationales à Bria." Radio Ndeke Luka, 10 February 2015. In French.

  • International forces attacked positions held by ex-Seleka forces in Bria on the morning of 10 February and re-took control of several government buildings in the town.
  • Local sources said that there were several people killed and injured, but no precise number was given. A spokesman for the Seleka forces said that at least four people, both civilians and Seleka fighters, were killed in the offensive.
International media

Dambasa-Kette, Crispin. "Peacekeepers kill seven rebels in Central African Republic fighting." Reuters, 10 February 2015. In English.

  • United Nations peacekeepers and French forces removed a faction of ex-Seleka fighters from government buildings in the town of Bria. Hamadoun Toure, spokesman for the MINUSCA mission, stated that "We used all means including air power to liberate the public buildings that were illegally occupied by the ex-Seleka after they refused to evacuate."
  • The UN offered a provisional death toll of seven rebels, while a spokesman for the Seleka said that four civilians and combatants were killed. 

"Centrafrique: nouveau bilan des affrontements de Bria." Voice of America, 12 February 2015. In French.

  • MINUSCA officials confirmed that seven rebel fighters were killed, nine wounded, and at least twenty arrested during the offensive to re-take government buildings in Bria on 10 February. Several arms were also seized by the international forces. 
3. Ex-Seleka attack on sugar refinery leaves one dead
Government-owned media

"RCA: Des ex-Séléka attaquent une sucrerie sous protection des Casques bleus." Centrafrique Presse Info, 9 February 2015. In French.

  • An attack by ex-Seleka forces on a sugar refinery guarded by UN forces left one dead and several people wounded. The refinery is located in the village of Ngakobo in central CAR. 
4. Intercommunal violence in Bangui's Muslim neighborhoods
Privately-owned media

"Au moins 3 morts ce week-end à Bangui." Radio Ndeke Luka, 16 February 2015. In French.

  • At least three people were killed in the majority Muslim neighborhood PK5, in the 3rd arrondissement of Bangui, during the weekend of 14-15 February.
  • Unidentified armed men killed a young Muslim in front of an administrative building in the neighborhood on Saturday 14 February. An ex-Seleka fighter was also killed while attempting to steal a motorbike.
  • In retaliation, unnamed members of the Muslim community in PK5 killed two people from other neighborhoods.
  • Anti-balaka youth in other neighborhoods of Bangui threatened to attack PK5 in retaliation. By Sunday evening, a level of calm had returned and traffic movement was restored, but stores remained closed in PK5 and circulation in that neighborhood was limited. 
International media

"Centrafrique: deux morts dans des violences intercommunautaires à Bangui." Jeune Afrique, 15 February 2015. In French.

  • Violence broke out in PK5, a majority Muslim neighborhood in Bangui, after a young Muslim man was beaten by several armed men on Saturday 14 February. An anonymous police source told AFP that all stores in PK5 were closed on Sunday 15 February and investigations were underway to find those responsible. 
  • This followed the death of another young Muslim in the Fatima neighborhood of Bangui on Friday 13 February. The same anonymous source said that tensions are high in PK5 as "numerous youth have promised to avenge the deaths of the two community members who were killed." 
5. Anti-balaka group blocks access to Muslim cemetery in Bangui; one injured
International media

"Des milices anti-balaka s'opposent à la réouverture du cimetière musulman de Bangui." APA, via Africatime, 14 February 2015. In French.

  • A group of Muslims, accompanied by local journalists and international forces, were blocked by members of an anti-balaka militia from entering a Muslim cemetery in the 5th arrondissement of Bangui. The group of Muslims wanted to see the state of the cemetery, which had been closed since December 2013, and make plans to reopen it in the near future.
  • During the confrontation, members of the anti-balaka militia threw rocks at the group of Muslims, injuring one. 
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