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UN peacekeepers expel 200 militants

Scores of militants have been ousted from the embattled town of Boyo in the south of the country, UN peacekeepers in the Central African Republic (CAR) said.

The UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the CAR, known by its French acronym MINUSCA, launched an operation on Saturday to expel around 200 members of the armed group Unity for Peace in Central Africa (UPC) from Boyo in Ouaka prefecture.

“Our reinforcements are already in place and we are warning the elements of the UPC against any return to the city,” Mankeur Ndiaye, UN Special Representative in CAR and Head of MINUSCA, tweeted.

According to MINUSCA, Nepalese and Mauritanian battalions arrived to support ground efforts, forcing the UPC combatants to vacate the town.

They had taken over numerous homes, including the mayor’s residence.

The Mission drew attention to more than a dozen civilian fatalities on December 6 and 7 in Boyo, which also prompted the displacement of nearly 1,500 people.

The UN peacekeepers were able to intervene to protect civilians and continue their operations throughout the city with robust patrols.

MINUSCA sent out a warning to the UPC against any attempt to re-occupy Boyo and reaffirmed its determination to ensure the protection of communities following its mandate.

One of the poorest countries in the world, the CAR plunged into conflict in 2013 when then-President Francois Bozize was ousted by rebel coalition Seleka, drawn largely from the Muslim minority.

The coup triggered a sectarian bloodbath between the Seleka and anti-Balaka militias, comprising mainly Christian and animist elements.

In December 2019, rebels launched a new offensive against President Faustin-Archange Touadera’s regime on the eve of presidential elections.

The president won re-election, and his army has now reconquered the lost territory. 

(NAN)

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