31 July 2014

Central African Republic: Violence Continues Despite Peace Deal

Photo: Gabonews
CAR President Catherine Samba-Panza.

In spite of the signing in Brazzaville, Congo of a ceasefire deal on July 23, 2014, between the warring sides in the Central African Republic, CAR conflict, violence still continues in the country. Radio France Internationale, RFI, reported yesterday, July 31, 2014, that suspected anti-Balaka gunmen attacked Séléka positions in the northern town of Batangafo on July 30, 2014, leaving several people dead and hundreds displaced.

While Séléka spokesman, Ahmat Nedjad Ibrahim and member of its high command, Col. Narkoyo, pointed accusing fingers at the anti-Balaka, the militia's own spokesman, Brice Emotion Namsio, denied any knowledge of the attack. He said the anti-Balaka high command ordered all fighters to observe the ceasefire deal reached in Congo. Namsio however suggested the attack might have been the handiwork of a dismissed anti-Balaka commander known as Engelou.

Meanwhile, news of the fresh clash between the country's long-time foes came as the largely Christian anti-Balaka militia announced that it was dissolving itself. Radio Ndéké Luka reported on July 30, 2014, that the decision was announced at a press conference in the capital, Bangui, by Brice Emotion Namsio, Sébastien Wénézoui and former army captain, Gilbert Kamezou-laï. The leaders asked for forgiveness for the crimes and other abuses committed against civilians.

Captain Kamezou-laï appealed to all armed groups to lay down their arms and embrace the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration, DRR programme. On return from the Brazzaville parley, leaders of the anti-Balaka announced that they would tour the country to unmask fake members, but instead went ahead to announce the group's dissolution. It would be recalled that former President Michel Djotodia in 2013 decreed the dissolution of his largely Moslem Séléka coalition of rebel groups. However, this did not stop the militiamen from committing abuses till date.

In a similar development, some 200 of the 800 Séléka fighters based in the former garrison of the Operational Territorial Defence Regiment, RDOT of the CAR Army at PK 11 on the road to Damara, on July 30, 2014, were disarmed and repatriated to their villages, the APA news agency reported. The exercise, which was carried out by international peacekeepers, was monitored by the International Organisation for Immigration, IOM.

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