High-ranking general of a rebel group surrenders in Mboki

Recently, a prominent leader of the UPC rebel group, Ousman Abakar, laid down his weapons in the town of Mboki, according to local sources. This comes as part of operations aimed at cleaning up the Haut Mbomou region from rebel groups following the arrival of Russian instructors. This part of the Central African Republic used to be almost entirely controlled by rebels.

Last week, Russian instructors accompanied by the Central African Armed Forces (FACA) were deployed in Haut Mbomou in order to clear this territory of the remains of armed groups. Local residents welcomed the arrival of the Russian military specialists, stressing that it was their actions that had made it possible to restore security and calm in the locality and urging the instructors and the FACA not to leave them for fear that the situation was going to deteriorate again.

After surrendering his weapons, General Abakar commented on this process. He mentioned that it was out of love for his country, the Central African Republic, and the desire for peace that he made the decision to surrender. He also urged his compatriots and other rebels and leaders of armed groups to follow his example by surrending their weapons to Russian instructors.

Furthermore, Ousman Abakar stressed that he would not have put down arms if it were not for the Russian instructors. According to him, handing oneself over to MINUSCA is not a safe option since there is a risk of violence on the part of the peacekeepers against former rebels: “We could of course hand ourselves to members of MINUSCA, but they will disarm you and they will abandon you in the hands of civilians. MINUSCA cannot even resolve the problems of civilians,” underlined the disarmed rebel.

The MINUSCA mission had been repeatedly criticized for its ineffectiveness and its complicity with the Central African rebels. Despite its long-standing presence on the Central African territory, its contribution to the restoration of peace and security, as well as to the disarmament process in the CAR, remains rather inconsequential.

As a reminder, on June 5, a FACA source announced that Mboki’s rebels had 10 days to surrender their weapons, until June 15. If this condition is not met, members of rebel groups will be eliminated.