The Bangui authorities have announced the opening of an investigation into alleged abuses attributed by the UN to Central African soldiers and private Russian auxiliaries who support them in the conflict against rebels.

According to a government statement read on national radio on Monday, the UN Mission in the Central African Republic (Minusca) gave President Faustin Archange Touadéra a list of “allegations of arbitrary / extra-judicial executions, torture, sexual violence, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, arbitrary arrests ”committed between December 2020 and April 2021 and“ seriously implicating national and bilateral forces ”.

"Serious human rights violations"

The Central African government "considers this document to be mere denunciations," said its spokesperson Ange Maxime Kazagui in this press release. “However, given the seriousness of the allegations made against the defense and security forces and the allied forces (…) the government has already instructed the Minister of Justice to open a judicial investigation in accordance with the law He adds.

"There was no report, but we sent the government information to draw its attention to certain facts," Vladimir Monteiro, spokesman for Minusca told AFP.

The Minister of Justice ordered "the establishment of a special commission of inquiry bringing together the three public prosecutors of the Central African Republic in order to shed light on the alleged facts" declared Monday the Attorney General Eric Didier Tambo.

A group of United Nations experts had already expressed concern on March 31 at reports of "serious human rights violations" by Russian paramilitaries fighting alongside the Central African armed forces (FACA), notably employed by the group. Russian Wagner.

Russia only recognizes the presence of "instructors" alongside the Faca.

"Russian instructors"

For its part, the Russian embassy in Bangui described in a press release received Tuesday by AFP as "fabrication" of "rumors" an investigation published the day before by Radio France Internationale (RFI) and supporting accusations of abuses by the share of alleged Russian members of private military companies in the Central African Republic, based in particular on this previous UN report and on testimonies.

The embassy denounces an investigation "based on word of mouth" and not proving that "Russian instructors" are the perpetrators of the alleged abuses.

She deplores that "a renowned media aligns itself with makers of fake news who serve the interests of criminals who are plotting to overthrow the legitimate government" in the Central African Republic.

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