Under pressure from UPC leader Ali Darass, residents, shopkeepers and vendors were forced on Monday to sit in front of the base of the Minusca. The objective: to prevent his departure from the city. As a result, the population claims to be hostage. « Yesterday morning Ali Darass assembled all the local authorities to manipulate and corrupt them about his departure from the city, » said a resident on condition of anonymity. According to this witness, Ali Darass has ordered the population to « mobilize and demonstrate against Minusca ». A « firm and categorical decision » was imposed on « merchants, shopkeepers and butchers ». This morning for this inhabitant: « We made a sit-in mandatory ».
In reaction, the UPC refutes all these accusations of manipulation of the population against Minusca. According to Souleymane Daouda, his spokesman, the new summons of the UN mission to Ali Darass to leave the city on February 21 at the latest, pushed a part of the population to demonstrate.
« On 18 February around 2:30 pm, a United Nations delegation of civilian and military personnel came to visit Ali Darass to send him a message: to leave the town of Bambari no later than the 21st, The spokesman of the UPC.
« Yesterday at 10 am, Ali Darass invited the leaders of the communities, neighborhoods to announce the message of the United Nations. The civilian population spoke to each other and deemed it necessary to close all the shops and decided to make a peaceful march, « he concluded.
Arrest of two young people between Ippy and Bambari
In addition to the situation in Bambari, the abuses perpetrated by the armed men of the UPC continue. Two young people were kidnapped in a convoy escorted by Mauritanian soldiers from Bria to Bambari. The kidnapping occurred at a barrier in the village Tagbara (45 Km from Ippy) held by elements of Ali Darassa.
« The vehicles left Bria Saturday for Bambari and spent the night in Ippy. The next day, they set off again to the village of Tagbara, where a UPC barrier was erected. The passengers were ordered to go down for an identification check. A young student from Ippy and another were immediately arrested and accused of being Antibalaka, « said Rufin Francis Ouaténdé, MP for Ippy.
According to the elected representative of the nation: « passengers contributed up to 150,000 CFA francs to facilitate their release, » a sum of money denied by armed men. For Rufin Francis Ouaténdé, the situation is critical since these young people are assimilated to « Antibalaka ». They are held until now in a secret place. He called on the government to assume its responsibilities to ensure the free movement of people and goods, saying that « the Mauritanian contingent » did not respect the terms of the UN mandate.