Tempers running high

Chad/CAR: Escalating tensions against backdrop of France-Russia conflict

By Pacôme Pabandji

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Posted on June 4, 2021 19:15

Firefox_Screenshot_2021-06-04T16-24-46.696Z © A Faca patrol, 14 March 2021 in Bangui (illustration). DR / Central African Armed Forces headquarters
A Faca patrol, 14 March 2021 in Bangui (illustration). DR / Central African Armed Forces headquarters

According to Chad, six Chadian soldiers were killed by Central African armed forces – five were coldly “executed”. To try to ease tensions, CAR’s President Faustin-Archange Touadéra sent three of his ministers to N’Djamena. But the tug of war is playing out in tandem to growing hostilities between Paris and Moscow.

It all began on 30 May, when, in their “sweep against the rebels” of the Coalition des Patriotes pour le Changement (CPC), elements of the Russian-supported Central African Armed Forces “detected” a “suspicious armed movement” heading towards Bang, a town near the border with Chad.

Reported by a Russian reconnaissance drone, the position was attacked by the Central African military. “These were rebels who operated on Central African soil and who wanted to retreat to Chad,” a Chadian military source told us.

Central African and Russian soldiers were pursuing these “rebels” into Chadian territory, where the fighting continued. But this time, Chadian soldiers returned fire. One Chadian soldier was killed during the shoot out. Five others, were taken prisoner and were coldly “executed”, according to N’Djamena.

“Chad holds the Central African government fully responsible for the consequences of this aggression, which cannot be justified at a time when the two countries are seeking to pool their efforts to meet common security challenges,” reads a statement signed by Cherif Mahamat Zene, Chad’s foreign affairs minister, and dated 31 May.

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