after an afternoon of scuffling with, calm has returned

Life is slowly resuming its course in the Central African capital after a day of shooting in several remote districts. The attackers were repulsed by Faca and their allied forces. Several of them were reportedly killed. The UN mission also deplores the loss of a Rwandan peacekeeper.

With our special correspondent in Bangui, Alexandra Brangeon

Bangui woke up calmly Thursday morning. The inhabitants feared a new rebel offensive, but it did not take place. In some places, activity has resumed fearfully. In the city center, the shops are open, but there are fewer people than usual on the streets. The government has banned the circulation of all motorcycle taxis as the rebels themselves use motorcycles to get around. Thousands of Bangui residents were therefore deprived of their means of transport this morning.

On Independence Avenue, the main road leading north of the city, there were also fewer vehicles. Police and gendarmes stopped taxis and buses this morning to carry out checks. On the outskirts, the many small markets are still open.

What about armed groups?

There is little information circulating about the state of the armed groups and their presence. They were rejected, the government announced yesterday. The Prime Minister spoke of around killed killers, five captured. Yesterday, the Interior Minister exhibited on national television a captured foreign warrior without specifying his nationality.

Today, many wonder about the means and strategy of these rebels who fell on the capital and passed through the bush, thus avoiding the axes down Bangui and controlled by Faca, Central African soldiers, supported by the Russians, Rwandan soldiers and Minusca.

Is this a strategy of harassment to put pressure on the Central African government and be able to negotiate? In any case, the front is still in Boali, 85 kilometers from the capital. But yesterday, the rebels showed their ability to get closer to Bangui.

The situation is serious. Our country is at war. I strongly appeal to you, so that the peoples themselves organize themselves to protect the democratic gains achieved, and so that we ourselves are the real army. Today we are facing a crisis and this war that has been pressured on us and declared. Faced with this situation, we have only one way, that is the only way. This is because we pose as defenders of our democracy and to ensure that the road is blocked for all those who will stand in the way. But there it would be necessary that we understand each other and that we actually belong to this nation, which is the Central African Republic. The best democratic ambition of the hour is what wants us to go towards hearts.

Émile Gros Raymond Nakombo, Mayor of Bangui

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