C.Africa minister accuses rebels of pursuing offensive

Report
from Agence France-Presse
Published on 23 Jan 2013

01/23/2013 11:47 GMT

BANGUI, Central African Republic, Jan 23, 2013 (AFP) - Central Africa's Defence Minister Jean Ladawa on Wednesday accused a rebel coalition of pushing forth with its offensive despite a recent peace deal aimed at ending a near month-long insurgency.

"Despite the Libreville accord, despite the ceasefire, the Seleka coalition is continuing its campaign," Ladawa's office said in a statement.

"After an incursion at Awakaba park, the Seleka coalition attacked the Gold Diam diamond mine at Dimbi and the town of Kembe, looting and destroying public property and carrying out killings."

The peace deal struck earlier this month between Seleka -- an alliance of three armed groups -- and the government aimed at ending an advance by the rebels who came within striking distance of the capital Bangui.

In line with the accord reached in the Gabonese capital Libreville, opposition figure Nicolas Tiangaye was appointed prime minister on January 17.

Levy Yakite, a member of a youth group called Cocora, which is close to the governing party, said the rebels were continuing their advance in the mineral rich country despite the deal.

"We thought that after Libreville and after the appointment of the prime minister, who would lead a transition government, peace and calm would return to all regions," he told AFP.

"Unfortunately that's not the case."

He said Seleka rebels were advancing toward the southeastern town of Bangassou, which lies near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Seleka insurgency was the latest in a series of uprisings that have rocked the Central African Republic, which has been notoriously unstable since its independence from France in 1960.

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