CENTRAL AFRICA – The Bishops: “Are we at the center of a Franco-Russian proxy war?”

Is the Central African Republic at the center of a Franco-Russian proxy war?” the Central African Bishops ask in their statement ahead of the elections on December 27th.

“As the country prepares for the general elections on December 27, the electoral campaign, officially opened on December 12, is struggling to take off. Many candidates are unable to join their electoral district”, denounces the document sent to Agenzia Fides. “In fact, the security situation is deteriorating more and more within the country. The movement of armed men along the Bossembélé-Bossemptélé corridor poses a risk of economic suffocation for the capital Bangui and consequently, for the entire country. The presence of these men and their attacks provoke a feeling of great fear among the population of Bossangoa, Yaloké, Kaga-Bandoro, Bossembele, Bossemptélé, Boganagone, Mbaïki”.

On the evening of December 18, three of the most powerful armed groups occupying more than two thirds of the country, after announcing their merger, began to advance towards Bangui. But the UN peacekeepers present in the country then reported that their advance was blocked in several locations.

A situation denounced by the Bishops who affirm that “more and more people are flocking to Bangui from inside the country, prey to the psychosis of a possible armed attack. What are all these turmoil leading to: creating unrest in the country? To stop the current electoral process?”.

“Dear brothers and sisters, is the Franco-Russian ‘proxy war’ already in the Central African Republic announced since October 2020 by the report of the American NGO The Sentry, specialized in investigations on war criminals and corruption in Africa and co-directed by actor George Clooney?” ask the Bishops.

On December 15, Facebook claimed to have closed the networks managed by Russia – but also by France – accused of having carried out interference operations, especially in the Central African Republic. According to the company, some of these false accounts were close to the French army, and had published “allegations of possible Russian interference in the elections of the Central African Republic”.

The Bishops call on the UN forces in Central Africa (MONUSCO) to protect civilians and help local authorities in organizing the vote, and are urging young people not to join armed groups “by becoming cannon fodder”, but to become “actors of peace and development”. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 21/12/2020)