On Saturday around 4 am, gunfire was heard in the northern part of Bangui capital city as rebel groups attacked Damara county, 76 kilometers away from Bangui.
It is reported that rebels attacked Damara town in the wee hours, confronted CAR forces which failed to repel them back until nearby RDF soldiers intervened and killed some of them.
CAR Defense Minister has revealed that many attackers lost lives but did not precise the exact number. IGIHE has learnt that over 30 attackers were killed on ground while 2 of CAR soldiers died during the attack.
Following an hour of fighting, the rebels were defeated that the situation returned to normal and brought calm in the region.
CAR Defense Minister, Koyara has thanked the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame for commitment to secure CAR citizens against attackers who wanted to kill them and disrupt elections.
“As you know, our military is rebuilding. With fast response, this partner country [Rwanda] through existing agreements, committed to help fellow soldiers to protect civilians. I can’t find enough words to explain gratefulness except vote of thanks, voicing appreciation to President of the Republic and Rwandans for the act of humanity that other African countries should learn from,” she said.
Minister Koyara explained that existing forces serving under the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) were not enough compared to the enormity of the country that pushed for the need to request reinforcement among countries including Rwanda.
“You know that MINUSCA has over 10,000 peacekeepers, the country has a total land area of 627,000 square kilometers and our military is rebuilding. This is a good opportunity to let you know that some sanctions against CAR military are still valid. The military without enough equipment cannot protect its citizens adequately,” she noted.
Koyara revealed that MINUSCA forces alone cannot secure the country alone considering its vastness yet there is a presence of rebel armed groups across its borders and the fact that neighboring countries are engulfed by political chaos or experienced it recently , thus worsening the situation.
As she said, leveraging agreements with partner countries was the option to deal with the situation with emergency.
“It is under that context that we tapped into such cooperation agreements whereby we sought support from Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC). Lucky enough, Rwanda was the first country to provide support. You have witnessed that despite the presence of MINUSCA, we need support from Rwanda friends to repel armed groups’ attacks,” explained Koyara.
Serving with the example of recent Saturday attack, Koyara highlighted that rebels would not be defeated without support of Rwanda’s soldiers.
“Damara is a prestigious town to us. With the support of Rwanda’s soldiers and other forces reinforcing national troops, we repelled back the enemy,” she said.
“It is a victory to our troops and forces from Rwanda who rushed to support our military still subject to sanctions amidst heavy duties to protect the nation and civilians,” added Koyara.
He explained that many attackers lost lives even though two CAR soldiers lost lives during the fight.
“The enemy was immensely shaken that tens of attackers lost lives during the fight. This should leave a lesson to such groups to stop intentions to destabilize the country seeking to restore peace,” said Koyara.
MINUSCA has 12,870 peacekeepers of whom 11,650 are soldiers.