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Central African Republic declares state of emergency over rebels attack

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The Central African Republic has declared a state of emergency on Thursday as armed groups try to lay siege to the capital, Bangui.

A United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) soldier patrols in PK12, in front of a bar where it says “Ambiance of PK12”, in front of heavy weapon casings, 12 kilometres from downtown Bangui, on January 13, 2021 where fighting raged against the rebels of the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) and loyalist forces. – Rebel forces in the Central African Republic on January 13, 2021 launched two attacks close to the capital Bangui that were swiftly repelled, Central African Republic Interior Minister Henri Wanzet Linguissara said. (Photo by FLORENT VERGNES / AFP)

The CAR army, backed by United Nations, Russian and Rwandan troops, has been battling rebels that are seeking to overturn a December 27 vote in which President Faustin-Archange Touadera was declared the winner.

The state of emergency, which will last 15 days, lets the authorities fast-track arrests by allowing the military to detain suspects without going through a prosecutor, government spokesman Albert Yaloke said in a statement.

The escalation comes as UN envoy Mankeur Ndiaye asked the UN Security Council for a substantial increase in the number of peacekeepers to give the mission greater mobility on the ground.

The country “is at serious risk of a security and peacebuilding setback,” Ndiaye said in an address to the council earlier on Thursday.

Seven peacekeepers have been killed since the rebels launched their offensive last month. The fighting has forced nearly 60,000 people to flee the country, compounding an already dire refugee crisis.

Ndiaye said large numbers of CAR troops had deserted due to insufficient training and resources.


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