The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic (CAR) has reported that after a standoff with a convoy of heavily-armed men near Sibut, the capital of Kémo Prefecture, UN forces detained 10 of the suspects and recovered a “significant quantity” of weapons and munitions.
According to a press release from the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), the convoy of some 35 men, which was believed to include several people who are the subject of arrest warrants, had departed Bangui, the nation’s capital, late Friday.
The heavily-armed men exchanged fire with national security forces at several checkpoints en route, and these incidents resulted in a number of deaths and injuries, according to MINUSCA.
Early Saturday morning, MINUSCA forces blocked the convoy of seven vehicles from proceeding at 50 km south of Sibut and demanded that all weapons and munitions should be surrendered. This demand was rejected, and a stand-off ensued for several hours, the Mission said.
Ten armed men were detained, and a significant quantity of weapons and munitions, as well as the vehicles used by the convoy were recovered, the Mission added.
MINUSCA has remained in contact with the Government throughout this episode, including at the highest levels, seeking to deploy a joint team of Government authorities who have the primary responsibility for the restoration and maintenance of public safety and the rule of law, the Mission said.
The UN Security Council, in its most recent resolution on the situation in the CAR, demanded that all militias and armed groups lay down their arms, and cease all forms of violence and destabilizing activities.
MINUSCA reiterated its appeal to all armed groups and militias to adhere to the disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and repatriation process initiated by President Faustin-Archange Touadéra and encouraged all Central Africans to prioritize dialogue.
More than three years of civil war and sectarian violence have displaced thousands of people in the CAR amid continuing clashes between the mainly Muslim Séléka rebel coalition and anti-Balaka militia, which are mostly Christian.