The speaker of the National Assembly - Karim Meckassoua, a Muslim member of parliament representing the third district of Bangui, which includes the Muslim-majority PK5 neighborhood - was removed from office on Friday, October 26, following accusations of poor governance. His removal, perceived as an anti-Muslim move, prompted his supporters to fire shots in the PK5 district, as well as in the towns of Bambari and Bria. It also prompted the Muslim-majority CNDS (Conseil national de défense et de sécurité) armed group, a coalition of several ex-Seleka armed groups, to issue a 48-hour ultimatum to the authorities on October 27, demanding they leave areas controlled by the group. As of October 29, government troops reportedly remain in place in these areas, raising fears of potential violence in the coming days.
On October 17, 95 out of 140 deputies in the National Assembly signed a petition demanding Meckassoua's dismissal. According to Meckassoua, the move is an attempt by rival politicians to destabilize the National Assembly. Around 400 people marched in support of him in Bangui on October 23.
The Central African Republic (CAR) has suffered recurrent bouts of civil conflict since December 2012, which has led to hundreds of deaths, almost 700,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs), and more than 500,000 refugees having fled to neighboring Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Chad. Clashes between various armed groups continue to be reported on a regular basis despite the June 2017 signing of a ceasefire agreement between the CAR government and rebel groups present in the country.
Individuals present in CAR, particularly Bangui, are advised to monitor local developments, maintain a high degree of situational awareness, and avoid any associated demonstrations as a precaution.
In general, a number of Western governments advise their citizens against travel to much of the country, including the PK5 neighborhood, for various security reasons, including the presence of armed groups,.
Copyright and Disclaimer