The UN started investigating reports of tortures in the Central African Republic with the alleged participation of Russian citizens, stated United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) spokesperson Vladimir Monteiro.
“We confirm that we are investigating the accusations of a person from Bambari that he was arrested and tortured by Russian citizens in January this year,” he said. He explained that the investigation is being carried out within the UN mandate in CAR. MINUSCA is in contact with the Republic's leadership.
Agence France-Presse reported on the UN investigation on January 15, citing a CAR report dated that same day. The document stated that a resident of the city of Bambari was arrested by Russians for five days and was tortured. His back was mutilated, and he had a finger cut off. The UN report also contained photos of scars on the man’s back and his mutilated hand, AFP writes.
As the agency states, its team met with the injured man in Bangui, the capital of CAR. The victim, Mahamat Nour Mamadou said he was a market trader. Mamadou said he was detained on January 11 by soldiers of the Central African Armed Forces (FACA) after a crowd falsely accused him of belonging to the Seleka militia, a mainly Muslim rebel movement that rose up in 2012 in the north of the country.
"They took me to the town hall where the FACA and the Russians are based. The Russians questioned me. They asked me if I was a Seleka militant, if I had weapons," he said. Mamadou stated that he was tortured from 8am to 5pm. "They hit me with chains and iron batons, they cut me in the foot with a knife, and on the arms and the shoulder. They broke a tooth with a brick."
"They tied my hands and covered my head with a jacket. They punched me. They tied me up during the night. Then they took me to their base," he continued. "They took a big knife and cut off my finger. They slashed my other fingers too, then they strangled me with a chain." Mamadou said that there was one FACA interpreter and several Russians present. Mamadou was released on January 15 after internal security forces intervened, according to the UN.
In an earlier report by the Russian Foreign Ministry, as of October 2018, there were 175 Russian military trainers in the Central African Republic who trained local military.
In late July 2018, Russian journalists Orhan Jemal, Kirill Radchenko and Alexander Rastorguev were killed in the Republic. They came to the country on the instruction of the Investigations Management Center to film a documentary on the activities of a Russian private military company. Unknown assailants stopped the journalists' car on the road and shot them. The investigation into their murders is still ongoing.