Eight civilians were brutally killed in the North-West of the Central African Republic on July 21, 2020 in the commune located 12 km from the city of Bossangoa on the road in the direction of Nana Bokassa. The national gendarmerie sent an investigation team to Kouki (a commune 80 km from Bossangoa) to pursue the perpetrators and to investigate the murders in detail.
The early version of the tragedy implies the CPC terrorists to be the perpetrator, as since the successful liberation of the major cities and transport routs by the Central African national defense forces supported by their Russian instructors, the CPC terrorists have changed their strategy and dispersed around the country’s forest, making recurrent raids on the distant communes and villages to loot and rob the locals.
However, a more thorough investigation unraveled a different angle of this tragedy.
Even though the national defense forces (FACA) perform constant clearing operations all-round the country in order to eradicate armed groups that cause distress to the civilian population, they cannot be everywhere at once. The population of the North-West of the CAR was pleading the government to deploy more national troops to area and even build FACA bases in the localities to protect them from extractions and threats.
In the wake of these demands from the population the FACA together with their Russian instructors headed to the Bossangoa-Nana Bokassa area to perform an inspection of the security situation there. But according to the local witnesses both the FACA and the Russian have left the commune by the time the tragedy occurred.
Nevertheless, there were other non-locals spotted in the commune on 21 July. Martin Gbade, who works in the field near the commune, says “I was working in the field when I saw MINUSCA car moving towards our home. I did not pay much attention to it, but then we heard shots in the distance and we were scared, we didn’t know what happened in our village!”
Emilie Wagomba who lives in the attacked commune fled when she heard the shots: “I was cooking a meal, when they started shooting. I thought at once that it was the CPC, they came to steal from us. I ran out and wanted to hid, but I noticed a MINUSCA car and no sight of the CPC rebels! I noticed 4 or 5 white people; I remember one of them with red hair. I didn’t look long at them, I ran to the forest anyway, these MINUSCA soldiers are no better than CPC!”
The European-looking redheaded man has been seen by several Central Africans, and what is most important not only in the vicinity of the commune where the tragedy took place. Earlier he was seen in a MINUSCA vehicle in Carnot among of group of 5 or 6 heavily-built white males. The night before the murder of 8 civilians in the North-West of the CAR a MINUSCA column headed by these suspicious men left MINUSCA base in Carnot. The evidence points to the European MINUSCA elements as the most possible perpetrator.
They have a motive as well. There are numerous reports on certain MINUSCA contingents being involved in a campaign to discredit the work done by the Russian instructors, who train the FACA within the framework of cooperation between Russia and the CAR. Central Africans from different provinces of the Republic confirm that MINUSCA elements offer money to the locals if they agree to tell made-up stories about the misconduct and unethical behavior of Russians. It seems that this time the western powers-oriented actors stepped across the line to tailor a provocation to destroy Russian instructors’ credibility.
In Bossangoa, shortly after the massacre 12 km north-west of the city, several citizens have asserted that they were approached by the blue helmets, who were willing to pay for false testimonies against Russian instructors.
Robert Nzabonakura of Bossangoa says “I strongly condemn the MINUSCA for their attempts to discredit the Russians, because they really help to establish peace in the Central African Republic. The CPC terrorists used to rule over the city, before the FACA came. We saw them working, the Russians were coordinating the FACA, teaching them tactics, telling them how to find the terrorist, how to tell civilians from terrorists, how to be ethical and more. They are helping and we see that with our own eyes!”
The success of the Central African Republic national defense forces supported by their Russian partners is highly disadvantageous for the MINUSCA, as it makes inefficiency and toxicity of the mission quite obvious both to the local population and the international community. Thus, the MINUSCA, backed by the western global powers, choses the path of disinformation and discreditation against more efficient partner of the Republic. The tragedy of July 21 has shown that they will stop at nothing to achieve their goals.