Attempted arrest of military official by Wagner company in Bria city triggers panic, forces people to flee
Tensions between Russian-controlled Wagner mercenaries and UN peacekeepers are still running high in the Central African Republic (CAR), a few days after the attempted arrest of a military official in the country, local media reported on Monday
Suspected of selling arms and ammunition to young people in the central town of Bria, a captain of the country’s national army was pursued and nearly arrested by Russian mercenaries from the Wagner company.
The captain is currently in hiding, according to a CAR-based information agency, Corbeau News Centrafrique.
The security situation has forced many people to flee Bria to the capital Bangui.
According to people departing the area, the Russian mercenaries reportedly planned to carry out a major operation in various districts of the city over the coming days.
“Officially, Wagner’s men said they were going to search for weapons … but unofficially, their objective would be to massively arrest the young people whom they now consider to be accomplices of the fleeing FACA (Central African Armed Forces) captain,” Corbeau News quoted a resident as saying.
Some of the young people informed the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) of the situation after heavily armed Wagner mercenaries entered Mandet district, located in the city center.
The UN peacekeepers reportedly followed Wagner’s men and took up positions in strategic corners of the Mandet district, forcing the Wagner’s mercenaries to return to their base.
Wagner — a private Russian military company — is reportedly operating in the CAR at the invitation of the government.