Central African militias agree peace deal

2015-04-08 21:41
Ugandan troops patrol the town of Zemio in Central African Republic. (Rodnet Muhumuza, AP)

Ugandan troops patrol the town of Zemio in Central African Republic. (Rodnet Muhumuza, AP)

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Nairobi - Warring forces in the Central African Republic have agreed to a ceasefire deal after months of negotiations mediated by Kenya, Nairobi announced on Wednesday.

The deal was signed between Joachim Kokate, a representative of the mainly Christian anti-balaka rebels, and ex-president Michel Djotodia of the predominantly Muslim ex-Seleka movement, the Kenyan presidency said in a statement.

"There will be many who will try to bring divisions amongst you for their personal benefit," President Uhuru Kenyatta said in the statement.

But he praised the "spirit of brotherhood" the parties had demonstrated.

An earlier ceasefire deal in January had called for the replacement of CAR's interim government led by President Catherine Samba-Panza and was never recognised by Bangui.

Samba-Panza has not been part of the peace process initiated by Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso.

The January accord was also rejected by the 10-member Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC).

Since then the rival sides in the Central African Republic have agreed to recognise the transitional authorities.

The Central African Republic is struggling to recover from a 2013 coup that ousted president Francois Bozize and plunged the impoverished, landlocked country into a spiral of violence pitting the country's Christian and Muslim populations against each other.

The Seleka militia seized power in March 2013 and put rebel leader Djotodia in power, making him the country's first Muslim president.

Djotodia stepped down in January 2014 under strong international pressure for his failure to rein in the rogue ex-rebels who relentlessly murdered, raped and stole from civilians.

In response, largely Christian communities formed "anti-balaka" - or anti-machete - vigilante forces who hunted down Muslims in revenge attacks.

Many critics have viewed the Nairobi talks with scepticism and questioned the ability of the groups to enforce any deal on the ground.

Read more on:    seleka  |  kenya  |  central african republic  |  central africa

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