Central Africa says repelled rebel attack

Report
from Agence France-Presse
Published on 11 Dec 2012

12/11/2012 16:37 GMT

BANGUI, Central African Republic, Dec 11, 2012 (AFP) - The Central African Republic's defence ministry said on Tuesday that it had regained control of the northern town of Ndele a day after a lightning attack claimed by a dissident rebel faction.

"National elements and the regional forces deployed in the area were able to contain the assault by the UFDR dissident faction," ministry spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jean Ladawa said in a statement.

He added that they "quickly launched into action to regain control of the situation in a timely manner and restore order and calm among residents".

He spoke after the rebel leader known as "Colonel Narkoyo" said his faction was behind the Tuesday attack on Ndele, as well as on the towns of Sam Ouandja and Ouadda in the northeast of the unstable landlocked nation.

The raid on Ndele, a town of between 15,000 and 20,000 people which has been the focus of previous rebel attacks, led to an exodus of part of the population. No official toll from the fighting has been given, but a source close to the high command of the army (FACA) said "the FACA lost (at least) one man in Ndele".

Narkoyo is a supporter of Michel Djotodia, dissident chief of the Union of Democratic Forces for Unity (UFDR) who has breached peace agreements signed in April 2007.

"I confirm that the towns of Ndele, Sam Ouandja and Ouadda are under the control of the UFDR faction of president Djotodia," Narkoyo said earlier Tuesday.

"Our forces took prisoners among FACA elements at Sam Ouandja. We recovered a vehicle fitted with a heavy machine-gun. The FACA is in disarray," he added.

"It's six years today since we signed peace deals with the government. But nothing has been done to lift us out of hardship. We want the government to tell us where we are with these peace accords," Narkoyo said.

The FACA is backed by a former rebel movement, the Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace (CPJP), which has occupied Ndele on good terms with the army since peace accords signed in 2011.

"The CPJP put up resistance, but they were routed by our men and forced to flee," Narkoyo said.

Ndele, a town close to the Chadian border and situated on busy roads linking Sudan and Cameroon, was at the heart of clashes between different rebel groups and the army between 2007 and 2010.

Monday's strike in the north of the country came as FACA troops were up against a series of attacks north of the southern capital Bangui attributed to a dissident CPJP faction, which also rejects the peace accords signed by their movement.

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