YAOUNDE, Cameroon

The UN mission in the Central African Republic on Sunday condemned the recent rebel attacks in several towns of the conflict-ridden country.

In a statement, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) said attacks in the towns of Damara and Bangassou on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, are aimed at disrupting the electoral process.

“In Damara, armed elements from groups allied with former president François Bozizé attacked the city on Saturday morning. The FACA [Central African Armed Forces] responded to the fire of the attackers causing the latter to flee, while the MINUSCA peacekeepers increased their patrols in the city and on the surrounding axes. The bodies of eight armed elements were found.

“In Bangassou, the attacks began around 5:30 a.m. (0430GMT) with heavy weapon fire against the FACA military post. MINUSCA peacekeepers immediately intervened to protect civilians, secure local authorities and continue the robust patrols… The bodies of five armed elements were found.”

The landlocked country is one of the poorest in the world and among the most volatile, characterized by coups and wars since independence from France in 1960.

The situation has been particularly tense after Bozize’s candidacy for the Dec. 27, 2020 elections was rejected by the Constitutional Council.

Several militia groups have since attacked civilians, the armed forces and UN peacekeeping forces.

Bozize, a former general who seized power in a 2003 coup, and was overthrown in a 2013 rebellion, planned to run against President Faustin-Archange Touadera.

Touadera was elected in February 2016 and is expected to win a second mandate in the election of the Democratic Opposition Coalition, an alliance of political and other groups, has termed rigged. Provisional results are expected from Jan. 4.

A peace accord was signed in February 2019 between the government and 14 armed groups.

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