An unidentıfied aircraft flew in the dead of night in the Central African Republic and dropped bombs near a base hosting notorious Russian mercenaries, the Wagner Group.
The Central African Republic is threatening to take reprisals after an unidentified aircraft that it says flew in from a neighbouring country in the middle of the night and bombed CAR troops and their Russian paramilitary allies, known as the Wagner Group.
The government says the plane targeted a military base and “dropped explosives on the town” of Bossangoa in the north before flying out of CAR in the morning.
Here are five things to know about the strike:
A middle-of-the-night raid
Authorities in CAR say an aircraft, which some news agencies are calling a low-flying fighter jet, flew in from a neighbouring country in the middle of the night and dropped explosives near a base stationing CAR troops and their Russian paramilitary allies, the Wagner Group.
Location of the airstrike
The exact location of the strike is being reported as the Cotenaf base in Bossangoa – a town some 200 miles, or approximately 322 km, north of capital Bangui – where witnesses told the Associated Press that both the base in the use of the Wagner Group and surrounding homes were hit by the bombing.
Shooting in the dark
After the strike, which some sources say happened around 5 or 6 am, while others dispute it to have taken place much earlier, between 2 and 3 am, the Wagner mercenaries responded with "unrestrained" firing aimed at the sky.
The Central African Republic threatened Monday to take reprisals after an aircraft flew in from a neighbouring country in the middle of the night and bombed CAR troops and their Russian paramilitary allies https://t.co/2CA4xZ6CFP pic.twitter.com/dqlZdrL11H— AFP News Agency (@AFP) November 28, 2022
‘Enemies of peace’
Information Minister Serge Ghislain Djorie, who confirmed in a statement that the unknown aircraft headed north after the incident before leaving the country’s airspace, called the strike a “despicable act”.
“This despicable act perpetrated by the enemies of peace will not go unpunished,” Djorie said.
Wagner’s presence in CAR
In CAR, Wagner fighters ride around capital Bangui in unmarked military vehicles and guard the country’s gold and diamond mines. They have helped to hold off armed rebel groups and to keep President Faustin-Archange Touadera in power.
However, the mercenary group has also been accused of committing human rights violations.
A report released earlier this year by the UN’s independent expert on the human rights situation in the country cited several attacks it said were reportedly carried out on the orders of the CAR’s armed forces and their Wagner Group allies.
Russian Wagner mercenaries are being pulled out of the Central African Republic and deployed near Ukraine, The Daily Beast reports. The UN says it's alarmed by the group’s abuses and is probing its alleged killings.— TRT World (@trtworld) February 4, 2022
A timeline of recent attacks attributed to Wagner in CAR: pic.twitter.com/HwnYyFQres