22 January 2013

Central African Republic: CAR Rebels Dissatisfied with Peace Accord

Less than two weeks after the signing in Libreville, Gabon of a series of peace and power-sharing deals by Central African Republic stakeholders, Sèléka rebel field commanders have expressed dismay at the terms of the accords, RFI reported yesterday, January 22, 2013.

According to Col. Hamadine Guidam, a former member of UFDR rebels, his men are not satisfied with the recent agreement because several of such deals had been signed in the past with no apparent results. He said the last agreement allowed President François Bozizé to continue in power for six years, but the people had continued to "live like monkeys with no roads, running water or schools."

The rebel commander explained that his men had exercised patience with the Head of State from 2006 to 2012 and were not ready to do the same from 2013 to 2014. Another rebel leader, Oumar Oscar, stated their readiness for dialogue, warning that if it did not work, they were ready to return to the capital, Bangui. Meanwhile, Sèléka rebels have been involved in excesses since returning to the northern town of Sibut. RFI reported that inhabitants have been living in fear as rebels continue to loot administrative buildings and private homes.

A local source said some of Sibut Hospital's staff had fled the town because of harassment from rebels. At the local market, only shops of those who cooperate with rebels are said to be open. In another northern town, Kabo, residents also complain of the conduct of Sèléka. A 35-year old man was recently taken hostage by the rebels and had to pay a ransom of FCFA 20,000 to secure his release.

In another development, Premier Nicolas Tiangaye on Monday, January 21, 2013 began discussions on forming an all-inclusive government of national unity with signatories to the January 11, 2013 Libreville Agreement. Observers predict a difficult task ahead of Tiangaye with President Bozizé's party reportedly insisting on 12 cabinet positions while the Sèléka rebel coalition that currently controls over half of the country is asking for seven ministerial posts, including that of defence in compliance with the peace accords. The civil society and unarmed opposition also want their share in the cabinet that is expected to have about 27 ministers.

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