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Rebel offensive continued, and N’Djamena pursued armed groups in CAR’s border region amid growing mistrust between neighbours over cross-border rebel activity.
Rebel groups clashed with govt forces in north east and north west. Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) rebels 5 May attacked army position and seized strategic town of Tiringoulou (Vakaga prefecture), killing three soldiers; counter-offensive by govt forces and UN mission (MINUSCA) 7 May forced them to withdraw. UN humanitarian agency in CAR 26 May condemned attacks on humanitarian workers and other civilians after unidentified assailants 24 May reportedly ambushed aid convoy on way back from Am-Dafok village (also Vakaga), killing driver. CPC elements 15 May ambushed armed forces near Bossangoa town (Ouham prefecture), killing four soldiers.
CAR and Chad launched joint operation against cross-border rebel activity. Following reports that Chadian rebels have established rear bases in CAR’s north, N’Djamena 16 May said two countries 14 May launched joint operation in CAR’s north-western Ouham-Pendé prefecture, killing dozen rebels and arresting 23 (see Chad). Meanwhile, alleged French support for late April inauguration of border military post near Chadian town of Goré (Logone Oriental province) fed suspicion in Bangui that France is backing CAR’s rebels based in southern Chad (see Chad). Further feeding mistrust, unidentified military aircraft 3 May crashed in Ouham-Pendé.
Self-defence militia accused UN mission of inaction against rebels in south east. Self-defence militia Azandé Ani Kpi Gbé 7-9 May clashed with Union for Peace in Central African Republic (UPC) rebels in Mboki town (Haut-Mbomou prefecture), losing at least 19 militiamen. Militia later blamed MINUSCA for not taking preventive measures despite indications rebels were preparing assault.
In other important developments. Security forces and Russian paramilitary Wagner Group elements 27 April-4 May conducted raids in Bangui’s Muslim neighbourhood PK5, reportedly arrested ten individuals on allegations of illegal weapons possession and trafficking, demanding payments for their release. PK5 retail traders 5 May shut down shops in protest at “arbitrary” detentions. President Touadéra 30 May announced constitutional referendum will be held 30 July.
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