Following a series of incidents earlier this week in the Central African Republic (CAR) capital of Bangui, the top United Nation official in the crisis-riven country strongly deplored the use of violence to resolve differences and had called on all Central Africans to exercise restraint “to avoid an increase of violence with serious consequences.”
In a statement, UN Special Representative Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, also reassured the population about the presence in the field of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), which he heads up, and its partners to avoid an escalation of violence.
“MINUSCA strongly condemns the use of violence to resolve differences. We call for restraint to ensure that recent unfortunate events will not lead to a larger drama, including more human life losses and material damages and a step back for peace consolidation,” Onanga-Anyanga stated in a message aired on Tuesday on Guira FM, the mission’s radio station.
Mr. Onanga-Anyanga’s call for calm came in the wake of incidents Monday and Tuesday in Bangui. The Mission had also reported that incidents farther afield in Bambari and Bira were quickly brought under control.
“We make an appeal to all people of good will,” he added while urging religious leaders, community leaders, civil society, politicians and national authorities to raise their voices “to avoid an escalation and [senseless] violence.”
In his message, Mr. Onanga-Anyanga reassured the population, stressing the coordination between MINUSCA and its partners, namely the Sangaris (French forces) operation, to avoid the escalation of violence. “We worked very closely with Sangaris. Our forces have been at work all night. We are present, we are in the most difficult neighbourhoods,” he said, while reaffirming that MINUSCA would work with all Central Africans, “whatever their differences, so that the country to move out of this simply unacceptable situation.”
He went on to condemn reported violence against the international forces including MINUSCA on Tuesday and aid workers in September. “This violence must stop. The international presence in the country is nothing but helping the country move forward throughout these difficult times and to support the reconciliation process which is essential for the return of peace, stability and prosperity for all in CAR,” Onanga-Anyanga concluded.
The Mission had earlier condemned an attack that took place Monday in Bangui against a delegation of the Union pour la paix en Centrafrique, ex-Seleka (Union for Peace in Central African Republic, or UPC], which had reportedly traveled from Bambari to participate in consultations with the Forces Vives.
The delegation was attacked by “unknown elements” in the eighth district of the capital. One person was seriously wounded, and was taken to the MINUSCA Level II Hospital in Bangui. The whereabouts of at least three of the delegates is currently being investigated.
“MINUSCA calls on the actors behind this violent attack to release any hostages they might be illegally detaining. The Mission also exhorts all actors to calm and restraint and to resolve their differences through dialogue,” said a statement.
In addition, Mr. Onanga-Anyanga called on all armed groups to abide by the Brazzaville Cessation of Hostilities Agreement signed on July 2014 as well as the disarmament, demobilization and reconciliation agreement, signed in Bangui in May 2015.
“Violence will never be a solution; dialogue and reconciliation are the only way for the Central African Republic to overcome this crisis,” Mr. Onanga-Anyanga stated.
He also noted that MINUSCA reported that the attack coincided with the consensus-building dialogue currently in progress, which seeks to establish an electoral calendar between the Head of State of the Transition, the national authorities, and the international community.
MINUSCA denounced the attack as a “direct attempt to use violence to disrupt, once again, the positive developments underway,” and called on those behind it to release any hostages they might be illegally detaining.