Cameroon Deploy Troops to CAR Border to Stop Rebels Abductions

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Cameroon‘s military has sent hundreds of troops to its eastern border with the Central African Republic following the abduction of at least 35 persons by CAR rebels earlier this month.

The military claims that the rebels take money and cattle from merchants, farmers, and ranchers.

On Monday, scores of troops attacked towns and woodlands near the Central African Republic’s eastern border to release citizens held captive by CAR rebels.

Colonel Dominique Njoka, in a statement, said he led troops on the rescue mission in Mbere, a border administrative unit, where rebels were holding hostages.

“When we arrived, unfortunately, they [suspected rebels] saw us. So, they opened fire, but we reacted immediately, and, in the confrontation, they ran away. Before running away, they killed one hostage and one was seriously wounded, so he died. However, out of the seven we liberated, five arrived {home} safely. We keep on asking the population to cooperate and give us information at the appropriate time to react,” he said.

Some of the rebels escaped across the porous border, while others are still hiding in Cameroon’s forests, according to Njoka.

He claimed that hundreds of troops had been deployed to the area to flush out the rebels, who had kidnapped at least 35 civilians in Cameroon in the previous three weeks.

According to CAR authorities, violence with rebels has escalated since March.

Last week, the United Nations peacekeeping agency in the CAR, MINUSCA, claimed insurgents pushed out of numerous towns were hiding on the Cameroonian border.

According to MINUSCA, the CAR rebels are fighting for control of border towns such as Bambari and Alindao.

Authorities say the rebels are crossing the border to avoid fighting with the CAR’s military and loot and kidnap for ransom.

Bouba Alami, a 50-year-old Cameroonian cattle owner, said his son was among the released hostages.

Alami claimed that a strange visitor informed him that his 20-year-old son was held captive in a forest near the Central African Republic’s border. He claimed the stranger told him his captors demanded at least $5,000 in ransom for his release, but he didn’t say where or how he should pay it.

Alami claimed he awoke two nights agonizing over how to contact either the abductors or his son.

After villagers told them where the rebels were hiding in the jungle, Cameroon’s military claimed they were able to rescue the five hostages.

Cameroon and the Central African Republic share a nearly 900-kilometre border.

This month, the defense minister went to the border area to mobilize troops to prevent the rebels from entering the country.

When then-President Francois Bozize was deposed in 2013 by the Séléka, a Muslim minority alliance accusing him of breaching peace agreements, the Central African Republic fell into violence.

Bozize was accused of assisting rebel attacks by the CAR government in 2020, which he denied.

Close to a million Central Africans have fled to neighbouring countries such as Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Nigeria due to the continuous war.

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