CAR faction signs peace deal

2011-07-19 20:33

Bangui - The Central African Republic government and a 500-man breakaway faction of the country's last active rebel movement have signed a peace deal, state radio announced on Tuesday.

It said the pact between the government and a dissident faction of the Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace (CPJP) was signed on Sunday in the eastern town of Nzako.

On June 12, the CPJP, the last major rebel movement active in the Central African Republic, also signed a ceasefire with the government.

Mediator Paulin Pomodimo told public radio the new deal was penned by faction leader Mahamat Salle, who "has many men, slightly more than 500 men, and many arms."

It provides for the dissident faction to disarm and recognise state institutions while providing security guarantees for Salle to quit the bush and move around freely in the country.

"This deal followed on a meeting that the security minister had with the president of the republic [Francois Bozize] to discuss the issue of Mahamat Salle... who had expressed a wish to quit the bush and work towards peace," the radio quoted Defence Minister Jean-Francis Bozize as saying.

The defence minister had also put his signature to the latest peace deal in the presence of other government officials and representatives of the Micopax peace mission in the Central African Republic.

The Bangui government has been engaged in a disarmament process after peace accords signed with four rebel movements in 2008 which will eventually lead to the reintegration into society of about 6 000 former fighters.