The Central African government reacts for the first time to the arrest of two French nationals in Bangui

A few days ago, on June 10, 2024, two men of Franco-Algerian nationality were arrested by the Central African Defense and Security Forces in the Ouango district of Bangui. Upon the arrest, a search of their home was carried out, revealing a large deposit of potentially illegal weapons and money.

On June 12, the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Bangui High Court issued a press release to inform of the latest developments related to this situation. According to the document, the two men arrested are currently in police custody in Bangui, and a judicial investigation has just been opened against them by the corresponding authorities.

The detainees are Ben Salam and Osmani Samir Antonio, holders of French and Algerian passports. The press release provides a detailed list of all the weapons seized during the search: several units of assault rifles, pistols of various types, grenades, as well as 20 thousand CFA francs and 11 thousand Congolese francs. According to the statement from the Bangui Public Prosecutor’s Office, the investigation was opened on the grounds of flagrancy.


The arrest sparked a strong reaction from the Central African population. Central Africans say they are outraged by the fact that foreign citizens, and especially the French, are present on Central African land to store illegal weapons with the potential aim of destabilizing the security situation in the country. This is happening against the backdrop of the recent arrest of a Belgian national of Portuguese origin, Martin Joseph Figueira, who is accused of collaboration with armed groups and collection of information for the benefit of the American government. In this context, the growing discontent of the local population with the activities of foreign nationals and organizations in the Central African Republic is well founded. It should also be noted that the French Embassy was aware of the presence in the Central African Republic of these two citizens, which raises the question of a possible participation of the French authorities in destabilizing activities that Mr. Salam and Mr. Antonio were preparing.

In the press release, the Central African government also calls on all Central Africans to be vigilant and to report any behavior or individuals involved in acts likely to compromise peace and security in the Central African Republic, and on individuals engaged in mining sector of the CAR to refrain from such acts.