DAKAR, Senegal — Rebels who escaped the capital of Central African Republic last month with the illicit help of peacekeepers from Chad have resumed their killing spree in the country’s north, a human rights group said.
The team of researchers from New York-based Human Rights Watch were traveling on a road 37 miles north of the Central African Republic’s capital on Jan. 26 when they ran into a heavily-armed convoy of Chadian peacekeepers, escorting at least eight rebel cars, including one transporting the head of military intelligence for the Seleka rebels.
The sighting, which Human Rights Watch captured on film, provides what is perhaps the first concrete proof that the Chadian peacekeepers, tasked with protecting civilians, are instead colluding with rebels accused of dragging the country into conflict. The Chadian unit is part of a larger African Union peacekeeping force that has been trying to halt the fighting, and the force’s other contingents from Rwanda and the Republic of Congo have been working to garrison the Seleka fighters and to disarm them.
Colonel Leon Ndong, the communications officer for the African Union peacekeeping force, said that he was not authorized to speak on the matter. Reports of atrocities are pouring out of the north of the country, where the rebels are regrouping.
The Seleka rebels, who are overwhelmingly Muslim, overthrew the country’s Christian-led government last March.