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March 16-22, 2015

Weekly Media Monitoring report for the Central African Republic
Posted on March 23, 2015

Contents

Compiled by Christina Murphy

  1. Armed attacks continue in towns near Chadian border
  2. International forces clash with armed group in Boy Rabe neighborhood of Bangui
  3. Suspected CAR fighters kidnap 16 people in Cameroon
  4. U.S. Ambassador to the UN: nearly all mosques in CAR have been destroyed
  5. EUFOR-RCA mission ends

1. Armed attacks continue in towns near Chadian border
Government-owned media

"Dix villageois tués dans une attaque en Centrafrique." Belga News Agency, reprinted in Centrafrique Presse Info (CPI), 17 March 2015. In French.

  • An anonymous source within the gendarmerie reported that at least ten villagers were killed and several more injured in an attack in the Ngaoundaye region in northern CAR.
  • The armed assailants reportedly came from across the border in Chad, but no details as to their identities or motivations were given. 
Privately-owned media

Ligangue, Diane. "Markounda, une ville abandonnée aux bandits venus du Tchad." Centrafrique Libre, 16 March 2015. In French.

  • Villagers from the town of Markounda, along the CAR-Chad border, have reported several attacks in the region in recent months. One anonymous source stated: "Not one week passes without us recording cases of attacks in villages close to the town as well as cases of killing."
  • The same source reported that three people were killed in the region over the weekend. In addition, armed men fired at a youth and stole his motorbike on 11 March and one person was killed in the nearby village of Beh on 12 March.
  • The head of one of the villages told Centrafrique Libre that they believe the armed attacks are led by Muslim Peuhls crossing the border from Chad.
International media

"Centrafrique: au moins 10 villageois tués dans une attaque dans le nord-ouest." AFP, via Africatime, 18 March 2015. In French.

  • According to press reports, at least ten people were killed in an attack in Ngaoundaye village in northern CAR on 14 March 2015. The identities of the armed men are not known, although sources say that they entered CAR by crossing the border with Chad. 
  • Reports say that international forces from MINUSCA were dispatched to secure the area following the attack. 
2. International forces clash with armed group in Boy Rabe neighborhood of Bangui
Privately-owned media

"Un soldat français blessé lors d'échange de tirs à Bangui." Voice of America, reprinted in Journal de Bangui, 19 March 2015. In French.

  • Soldiers from the French Sangaris forces were attacked by armed men while patrolling the Boy Rabe neighborhood of the 4th arrondissement of Bangui on Monday 16 March. The Sangaris reportedly came under fire from small arms and grenades.
  • According to a statement from international forces, one Sangaris soldier was injured in the exchange. In addition, two civilians were injured while one of the armed men was killed and another injured.
  • The article notes that the Boy Rabe neighborhood is a stronghold of anti-balaka militias in Bangui. 
International media

"Centrafrique: un soldat français blessé lors d'échange de tirs avec des hommes armés à Bangui." AFP, via Africatime, 18 March 2015. In French.

  • An official from the French Sangaris forces reported in a statement that a French soldier was wounded during an exchange of gunfire with armed men in Bangui's 4th arrondissement on Monday 16 March. Gunfire and grenade blasts were reported in the neighborhood as Sangaris troops, reinforced by MINUSCA and other security forces, worked to secure the neighborhood.
  • The French official reported that two civilians were injured, and one fighter was killed and one wounded. A hospital later reported that two high school students were injured in the fighting. 
3. Suspected CAR fighters kidnap 16 people in Cameroon
International media

"Cameroon Blames CAR for Fresh Attack." Voice of America, 21 March 2015. In English.

  • Officials from Cameroon have blamed suspected rebels from CAR for the kidnapping of sixteen people from Cameroon's eastern border region, including local politicians, clergy, and businessmen.
  • The region's governor stated that no group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, but the article says that it is suspected that the kidnappers are CAR rebels are pushing for the release of their leader Abdoulaye Meskine, who is detained in Cameroon.
  • Meskine is the leader of the Democratic Front of the Central African People, an armed group formerly aligned with the ex-Seleka movement. 

"Cameroun: des passagers d'un bus enlevés." Radio France Internationale (RFI), 21 March 2015. In French.

  • According to Cameroonian officials, unidentified armed men fired at and then kidnapped a bus carrying local officials during the night of 19 March. The attack took place near Garoua-Boulaï, near the border with CAR.
  • The article reports that by the afternoon of Friday 20 March, one of the hostages had been released, but the details of the release were unclear.
4. U.S. Ambassador to the UN: nearly all mosques in CAR have been destroyed
Privately-owned media

"La quasi-totalité des mosquées centrafricaines détruites." H24Info, reprinted in Journal de Bangui, 19 March 2015. In French.

  • In a press conference on 17 March, US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power discussed the recent visit of the Security Council to CAR.
  • Power reported that in addition to the 5,000 people killed and the one million people displaced, 417 of the country's 436 mosques have been destroyed since the beginning of the conflict in December 2013. 
International media

"US envoy: Almost every CAR mosque destroyed in war." Al Jazeera, 18 March 2015. In English.

  • Following the UN Security Council visit to CAR last week, Samantha Power reported that nearly all of the 436 mosques in the country have been destroyed since the current conflict began in December 2013.
  • In her statement, Power also expressed concern about a potential security vacuum following the exit of European troops and called disarmament "a huge priority" for the country. 
5. EUFOR-RCA mission ends
Privately-owned media

"Eufor-RCA passe la main à la Minusca ce 15 mars à Bangui." Radio Ndeke Luka, 16 March 2015. In French.

  • The European Union's military mission in CAR (EUFOR-RCA) officially ended on 15 March and responsibility was handed over to the UN's MINUSCA mission.
  • Philippe Pontiès, the head of EUFOR-RCA, stated at a press conference: "Today we are leaving Bangui, we are leaving a pacified city. Refugee camps are in the process of emptying and the displaced are returning home, effectively I have the feeling of the task being accomplished."
  • The mission is widely considered by locals to be a success, although some interviewed by Radio Ndeke Luka said that the tasks of disarmament and securitization were not fully finished. 
International media

"Centrafrique: le mandat d'Eufor-RCA officiellement terminé." Radio France Internationale (RFI), 16 March 2015. In French.

  • The mandate of the European Union's military mission to CAR ended on Sunday 15 March and the mission's 700 soldiers are leaving the country.
  • The mandate of EUFOR-RCA was to support the establishment of the UN's MINUSCA mission and secure the Bangui airport as well as Bangui's 3rd and 5th arrondissements.
  • The head of EUFOR-RCA, Philippe Pontiès, stated that the mission has successfully fulfilled its mandate and that "if one compares the situation today with that which prevailed a year ago, there is a reason to be collectively proud."
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