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Foreign states should stop meddling in CAR affairs

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By OMAN MBIKO in Bangui, Central African Republic

BANGUI, (CAJ News) – AS the residents of the Central African Republic (CAR) headed for the polls on December 27 to choose a new president and legislature, they were hopeful for a better future.

Yet even as the incumbent President Faustin-Archange Touadéra was declared to have tentatively won the ballot with 53,9% of the votes, this failed to end the violence that erupted throughout the country in the runup to the elections.

With numerous clashes between armed militants in all major cities, including its capital, Bangui, the residents of CAR see no end to the turmoil.

The international community seems to be deeply concerned about the situation in the country.

On January 5, UN released a joint statement of its senior officials and regional organizations, condemning incitement of violence and hatred and calling upon all political actors to respect the decisions of the Constitutional Court of the Central African Republic.

Yet, even after legal confirmation of Touadéra’s victory, there seems to be no end to the riots.

The rebels continue their attempts to overthrow the legitimate government despite the international community’s position and the Constitutional Court’s ruling of January 18, officially certifying the incumbent President’s victory.

In response to the riots, the government engaged the CAR military, backed by Russian and Rwandan troops, in an attempt to stabilize the situation.

The allied forces struck the militants’ base near the village of Bondokpo. The rebels took flight, leaving behind their weapons, vehicles, and even personal belongings. Sifting through evidence, the government troops discovered signs of external forces being present, namely Canadian mercenaries.

As with most conflicts on “the dark continent”, unrest in CAR tends almost inevitably spills over to the troubled country’s numbers.

For this reason, any outside attempts to disrupt peace and incite violence are especially unacceptable.

According to the CAR army, some of the country’s neighbors, namely Chad, are well known for hosting numerous militants that regularly cross the state border to wreak havoc and commit countless crimes.

President Touadéra suggested closing the border between the two countries, to stop illegal smuggling of arms and militia forces, but Chad’s government, known to support the Central African Republic’s disgraced former president Bozizé, ignored the proposal, denying any involvement in the hostilities across the border.

Given this reaction, the only way to stop further bloodshed and suffering would be to either stop intervention or force the militants to return home.

Sudan, another country recently caught fueling the conflict in CAR, followed President Touadéra’s suggestion, as it is currently considering setting up roadblocks at the border town of Amdafok, in an attempt to curtail illegal flow of weapons and armed militiamen.

Khartoum seems to be aware that further escalation of the conflict could backfire, affecting the economic situation and security in Sudan itself.

Given the situation, the next logical move would be to start negotiations between all the parties to the raging conflict, under the aegis of the international community.

At the same time, any foreign militants opposing CAR’s legitimate government must be brought to justice, as any interference in the internal affairs of another country goes against the international law and the standards of conduct developed for the civilized world. – CAJ News

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