Two Libyan planes bombed the city of Damara, 76 km north of the Central African Republic capital, Bangui, on Friday in an effort to dislodge rebels believed to control the town, the UN Office of the Resident Coordionator reported.
The planes bombed residential areas in Bambari following several reconnaissance flights, but no casualties were reported. No further information was available from the frontline on the Bangui-Damara road on Sunday and information from the north of the country was equally hard to obtain as rebel forces had systematically confiscated radio communications equipment, the UN office reported.
In anticipation of renewed conflict in the capital, Bangui, a general movement of people was taking place out of northern neighbourhoods in the city, sources told IRIN over the weekend. World Food Programme Country Director David Bulman said that the agency had propositioned food around Bangui with religious groups, who were ready to receive internally displaced people.
UN humanitarian agencies remained unable to move beyond 10 km outside of the capital on Sunday.
A regional analysts told IRIN that in the event of a peaceful solution to the current conflict, the estimated 1,000 soldiers from Jean-Pierre Bemba's Mouvement pour la liberation du Congo (MLC) rebel group - who looted, raped and engaged in general violence - would need to return home through Bangui. Great mutual animosity has been reported between local residents and the Congolese militia, who had ostensibly come to help CAR President Ange-Felix Patasse put down the rebellion by former soldiers local to renegade army chief of staff, Gen Francois Bozize.
As of Sunday, no clear commitment had been made regarding the withdrawal of MLC soldiers from CAR territory, the UN reported. Patasse has come under increasing pressure, with members of the National Assembly demanding that he, his prime minister, and the government resign.
The government faces other challenges; with public sector employees still unpaid their salaries. A source told IRIN of public anger that the government had failed to pay salaries but had somehow managed to hire MLC soldiers.
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