Tag Archives: CAR parties – CPJP UFDR and CPSK

Central African Republic protestors blame France for rebel advance

RFI

Violent protests outside French embassy in Central African Republic

François Bozizé, President of the Central African Republic

AFP/John Thys

Hundreds of protesters angry at a rebel advance in the Central African Republic threw stones and tore down the French flag at the French embassy in the capital, Bangui.

The demonstrators say France, the former colonial power, has done little to deter rebels who have taken over large parts of the country’s east and north.

“France has a tendency to abandon us,” a protester told news agency AFP. “We no longer need France. France may as well take its embassy and leave.”

The French ambassador says the protests sere “particularly violent”.

Vincent Floreani, the deputy spokesman for the French Foreign Ministry, confirmed several protesters entered the embassy’s gardens by “jumping over a fence”, but they were pushed back.

He says France is supporting efforts at political dialogue by countries in the region.

Most of the protesters were reportedly youths close to the country’s ruling party, the Kwa Na Kwa, and the embattled President François Bozizé.

AFP reports the offices of Air France were also attacked.

The instability caused Air France to order its weekly Wednesday flight from Paris to Bangui, which departed just before 11am Paris time, to return to the French capital.

The rebels, known as the Séléka alliance, have in recent weeks taken a string of towns in the country’s north.

They took control of the central town of Kaga Bandoro on Tuesday despite the presence there of troops from neighbouring nations meant to shore up the weak national army.

They are now reported to be advancing towards Bangui.

“We call on the boys and girls of the Central African Republic, on defence and security forces still loyal to the regime of François Bozizé…to lay down their arms immediately,” Séléka announced in a statement.

The rebels, who have so far encountered little resistance from the army, said that, “by the measure of security and the protection of civilians, we don’t consider it necessary to launch a battle for Bangui and send troops there, because General François Bozizé…has already lost control of the country.”

Séléka took up arms on 10th December, saying the government has failed to respect peace accords signed between 2007 and 2011 which offered financial support and other help to insurgents who laid down their arms.

Bozizé came to power in 2003 after a brief war and has repeatedly relied on foreign interventions to fend off rebellions and the spill-over from conflict in neighbouring Chad and Sudan.  rfi

Central African Republic – rebels bypass town in march on Bangui

Reuters

Wed Dec 26, 2012 5:47pm GMT

BANGUI (Reuters) – Rebels in the Central African Republic advanced on the capital, Bangui, on Wednesday having passed the last remaining major government-controlled town to the north, three sources said.

A military source and an aid worker said the rebels had reached Damara, 75 km (47 miles) from Bangui, by late afternoon, having skirted Sibut, where some 150 Chadian soldiers had earlier been deployed to try and block a push south by a rebel coalition.

“It is true, they are at the gates of Bangui,” a government official told Reuters, asking not to be named.  reuters

UNSC says CAR rebels attacks threaten civilians and regional stability

UN News Service

Security Council concerned over situation in Central African Republic

Ruined and abandoned house in the northern Central African Republic. Photo: IRIN/Anthony Morland

 19 December 2012 – Expressing their strong concern over the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR), the members of the United Nations Security Council today condemned the attacks conducted by armed groups over the last few days in the country’s north-east, as well as related human rights abuses.

“These developments threatened the civilian population and the stability of CAR,” the Council members added in a press statement. “The members of the Security Council underlined that those undermining the process of consolidating peace, security and stability in CAR should be held accountable.”

“The members of the Security Council,” the press statement continued, “emphasized the necessity of enhanced political dialogue in order to identify ways out of the current crisis and preserve national unity in CAR.”

Earlier Wednesday, the Council received a briefing on the situation in CAR from the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Tayé-Brook Zerihoun.

Over recent days, CAR has experienced a flare-up of violence, with a number of cities reportedly falling under the control of armed groups, which, in turn, has led to thousands of people fleeing areas where fighting has taken place.

According to media reports, armed groups have also threatened to overthrow the Government. The groups reportedly want to discuss the compliance of a ceasefire agreement that pledged the release of political prisoners and payment for fighters who lay down their arms.

The central African nation has a history of political instability and recurring armed conflict. State authority is weak in many parts of the country, which are largely controlled by rebel groups and criminal armed groups, according to the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA).

Coupled with ethnic tensions in the north, frequent armed incursions by rebel elements from neighbouring countries and the presence of members of the armed Ugandan group known as the Lord’s Resistance Army, have added to insecurity and instability in CAR, which also has 170,000 people displaced internally.

“The members of the Security Council demanded that the armed groups immediately cease hostilities, withdraw from captured cities, cease any further advance towards the city of Bangui, return to peaceful activities and respect the Libreville Comprehensive Peace Agreement,” the Council’s press statement noted.

Signed in June 2008, the Libreville Comprehensive Peace Agreement helped bring an end to conflicts inside CAR, with the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the CAR (BINUCA) playing a key role in encouraging the signing of the pact between the Government and three main rebel groups, as well as the holding in December that same year of the so-called Inclusive Political Dialogue between the Government, rebel groups, the political opposition, civil society and other relevant stakeholders.

Amongst other things, the Dialogue called for the creation of a government of national unity; the creation of a national human rights commission; and the launch of a programme for the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) of former combatants.

In their press statement, the Council members recalled resolution 2031, which they adopted in 2011 and which demanded that all armed groups cooperate with the Government in the DDR process, with the latter being implemented in “a transparent and comprehensive manner.”

The Council members also reiterated their call on “all armed groups and the Government of the Central African Republic to renew their commitment to the national reconciliation process by fully observing the recommendations of the Inclusive Political dialogue which resulted from the Libreville Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in 2008.”  UN

Central African Republic – rebels capture another town

Reuters

By Paul-Marin Ngoupana

BANGUI |          Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:05pm GMT

BANGUI (Reuters) – Rebels pushed closer to the capital of Central African Republic on Wednesday despite a military intervention by neighbouring Chad meant to halt their rapid advance in the mineral-rich country.

The insurgents, who have threatened to unseat CAR’s president unless he honours a five-year-old peace deal, said they seized that town of Kabo, around 400 km (250 miles) north of the capital Bangui in the morning.

Rebel Colonel Joseph Zoundeko told Reuters his men had already started pushing further south and warned forces from CAR’s ally Chad, who crossed into the country on Tuesday, to stay away.

“Kabo is under our control since this morning … We quickly routed the government troops present in the town, killing 12 and taking six prisoners,” he said.

“We ask (Chadian president Idriss) Deby not to get mixed up in our affairs … His troops must keep away from our positions,” Zoundeko added.

A United Nations official confirmed the fall of Kabo, the latest in a string of towns taken by the insurgents since they launched their offensive further in the north and northeast of the chronically unstable country last week.

The fighting has already forced thousands of civilians to flee their homes, The International Committee of the Red Cross said.

REBEL ALLIANCE

CAR’s government on Wednesday said its army had made a strategic retreat in some areas but had not been driven out of the north.

“The military offensive led by our forces with the Chadian army … have indeed allowed us to begin the reconquest and control of the attacked zones,” it added in a statement, without going into further detail.

Around 20 vehicles carrying soldiers from CAR’s northern neighbour Chad crossed the border on Tuesday to help push back the rebels, government and U.N. officials said. There were no reports of them clashing with the insurgents.

Zoundeko said he was part of a rebel alliance known as Seleka and made up of breakaway factions from the CPJP, UFDR and CPSK – groups which signed a 2007 peace deal.

The rebels on Monday demanded the government free prisoners and pay rebel soldiers money promised to them in the agreement, among other demands.

Long-running instability in landlocked CAR, roughly the size of former colonial master France, has discouraged major investment in its timber, gold, uranium and diamond deposits.

A mix of local rebellions, banditry, ethnic tensions and the spill-over of conflicts in neighbouring Chad, Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo have undermined efforts to stabilise the nation since independence in 1960.

President Francois Bozize took power in a 2003 coup with support from Chad’s President Idriss Deby and won a new mandate in January 2011 elections which opponents dismissed as fraudulent.

The two leaders remain close allies, and Chad has intervened in CAR on several occasions in support of Bozize.  reuters