Rwanda’s national carrier RwandAir has launched its new route to the Central African Republic’s capital, Bangui, amidst rebels closing in on the city.
The airline says it will be flying to Bangui twice a week as part of efforts to “recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic”.
Rwanda’s trade and infrastructure ministers were among dozens of passengers who boarded the inaugural flight and landed in Bangui on Wednesday morning, local media reports.
In 2019, Rwanda and CAR presidents signed a bilateral defence agreement, which saw hundreds of Rwandan troops deployed to protect Bangui a little before December 2020 elections.
Rebel forces surround Bangui and control almost two thirds of the country. They dispute the December presidential election won by incumbent Faustin Archange Touadéra, and want him ousted.
Last week, former Prime Minister Martin Ziguélé said the situation in Bangui was “apocalyptic” as rebels encircle the city.
Bangui is being defended by government forces backed by the UN and Russian troops, a state of emergency was declared earlier this month.
RwandAir flew to nearly 30 destinations across 24 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, before some flights were suspended last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.