UN forces in the the Central African Republic have in recent weeks multiplied interventions to stop the advancement of armed groups to the city of Bambari in the centre of the country.
With help from MINUSCA, Bambari has regained its calm after more than four years of instability and armed conflict, following the takeover of power by the former seleka coalition.
Today, the second largest city of the country after Bangui has declared arms free and void of armed groups, by the UN mission.
The presence of MINUSCA until the restoration of state sovereignty has created a climate of confidence among the population. ‘‘Bambari has become militants free and we are happy. And if we can freely move around then that is good news. At first it was not good at all but right now we have hope, ‘’ a Bambari inhabitant said.
Others however say the situation still remains tense and insecure.
‘‘I think there are still weapons in Bambari. With the coming of the president, the Mbororos withdrew with the complicity of the Mauritanians and that is the truth,’‘ another villager said.
Another added: ‘‘People are still afraid to move or return to their homes and are entrenched in the camps for their security.’‘
Four years after the fighting, signs of war are still visible; all administrative buildings are completely destroyed, there is lack of movement while streets are deserted. A few people are trying to revive their daily activities.
Valentin supervisers a pneumatic workshop. Close to a week after the workshop reopened its doors, it is still far from reaching its daily turnover rate which ranged between 45 and 60 euros or even more.
‘‘Before the war, we were carrying out our activities in a quiet manner 24 hours daily. But since these acts of violence we have had difficulties. We have lost all our tools, we ran in all directions, it is still surprising that today it appears calm and that we are talking of a city without weapons. We are glad it is calm now,” he said.
For the first time since he came to power, president Faustin Archange Touadéra met with the local population and passed across a message of peace and national reconciliation.
He added that an agreement on disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and retaking of arms which was signed in May 2015 between the government of the Central African Republic and representatives of ten armed groups has been progressing in a convincing manner.