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Truck drivers in C.A.R kick against UN protection on Bangui-Douala trade route

Central African Republic

Truck drivers plying the Bangui-Douala road want the Bangladeshi contingent of the United Nations mission in the Central African Republic (CAR) relieved of their duties of policing the vital Bangui-Douala trade route.

According to the aggrieved drivers, the UN Bangladeshi team which is tasked with providing security along the 450km road, do not take their job seriously, hence exposing them to danger.

Trucks have often been attacked by rebel groups operating along the route which connects the Central African Republic’s capital to Cameroon’s commercial capital.

“My truck was once hijacked and taken into the bush. When the Bangladeshi (soldiers) arrived, they were told a truck had been hijacked and taken into the bush but they refused to enter and instead stayed on the road and fired shots,” said André Pythagore, a truck driver.

Roland Chouamou, a truck drivers from Cameroon, told Africanews’ correspondent that they prefer the C.A.R army takes over from the UN force since “they are our brothers (and) they will work with us as brothers”.

Chouamou argued that the Bangladeshi soldiers “are there for the problems of the UN” so they do should be allowed to focus on their work for the UN, “enough is enough,” he added.

More than 80 truck drivers are said to have been killed on the route since it was opened in 2014 and tons of goods stolen by the rebels.

The Bangui-Douala road is a main supply route for central Africa with some 300 trucks conveying people and goods across the border every week.

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