January 28, 2023
Riot police in Bangui, CAR. © Barbara DEBOUT / AFP

Christmas Parcel Explodes

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Parcel sent to a Russian envoy in the Central African Republic explodes hours after departure of French forces

A senior member of the Russian diplomatic mission in the Central African Republic (CAR) has been hospitalised after a parcel bomb explosion, Moscow’s embassy in Bangui confirmed to Russian media, Friday.

The official was identified as Dmitry Sytyy, who heads the local branch of the “Russian House”, a network of cultural centers under the Foreign Ministry.

The news was first broken by a Russian officers’ organization, which claims to provide military training to government forces in the African nation. It said the parcel bomb went off in Sytyy’s hands, and he was taken to hospital following the incident, which it described as a terrorist attack. The group claimed Sytyy received threats against his him and his family over Russia’s ties with the government of CAR.

The embassy said the incident occurred outside of the Russian diplomatic compound, at the diplomat’s home. Sytyy’s condition was described as non-life-threatening, although he apparently suffered from concussion. The nation has been suffering from turbulence for years. The Russian embassy has advised citizens against visiting the country, including the capital, since 2020. Moscow has reportedly helped the CAR government secure the services of private Russian military instructors.

The Officers’ Union for International Security, which broke the news about Sytyy, is involved in the training of CAR troops, according to its leadership.

France, the former colonial power that ruled over the region till the 1960s, has been highly critical of Russia’s growing influence in Africa. Last month, French President Emmanuel Macron accused Moscow of “predatory” ambitions in parts of the continent, which Paris has long viewed as an area of strategic interest.

On Thursday, the French Defense Ministry reported the withdrawal of the remaining 130 soldiers, who were part of the MISLOG mission in CAR. Their former camp was formally handed over to local authorities on Tuesday, the ministry said.

French Foreign Minister has dismissed allegations about Paris’s involvement in the terrorist attack on the Sytyi, AFP reported on Friday adding that the French top diplomat said that the information about France’s possible link to the assassination is not true.

“Those reports are false,” Colonna told the French news agency during her visit to Rabat (Morocco), labeling them as “an example of propaganda.”

Source TASS/RT

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