AFRICA/CENTRAL AFRICA - Bangassou, a ghost town. Bishop describes the situation as "calm but tense"

Tuesday, 5 January 2021 armed groups   bishops  

Bangui (Agenzia Fides) - Bishop Juan José Aguirre Muñoz of Bangassou describes the situation in the city in the south-east of the Central African Republic conquered by the rebels as "calm but tense" (see Fides 4/1/2021).
While a part of the population fled to the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo - reports Mgr. Aguirre - the regular soldiers and police forces took refuge in the nearby Blue Helmets base of MINUSCA (UN Mission in the Central African Republic).
"The city is almost deserted now. The night was calm. There were no shootings", reports the Bishop. "In the city of Bangassou there are only bandits who have looted the shops. Otherwise the situation is calm. Perhaps the rebels want to understand first what the next government will look like and they do not want to hurt the population for the moment", says Mgr. Aguirre.
Yesterday, January 4, the preliminary results of the presidential and parliamentary elections on December 27th were published in the evening. The outgoing President Faustin-Archange Touadéra therefore won in the first round with 53.92% of the vote.
The final results are expected to be released on January 19th, pending consideration of any objections. In fact, several opposition candidates have already denounced fraud, intimidation and the buying and selling of votes.
Elections in Central Africa were held despite much of the territory still under the control of armed groups. Three weeks ago, six of the most important Central African armed groups decided to join forces in a new alliance, the Coalition des patriotes pour le changement (CPC). They denounced non-compliance with the peace agreement of February 6, 2019, which provided for the integration of armed groups into the political system, and called for the electoral process to be suspended and a national consultation to be set up. The presence of Rwandan troops and Russian mercenaries has so far prevented the rebels from marching into the capital Bangui, but did not prevent armed groups from taking control of large areas of the country. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 5/1/2021)