Three rebel groups threaten to topple C.African regime

Report
from Agence France-Presse
Published on 16 Dec 2012

12/17/2012 14:43 GMT

BANGUI, Central African Republic, Dec 17, 2012 (AFP) - A coalition of three rebel groups in the Central African Republic has threatened to overthrow the regime of President Francois Bozize unless he meets their terms for peace.

"The Seleka (alliance) is ready to encourage the return of peace in their zones of influence if the government agrees to debate the issues raised herewith," the movements said in a statement dated December 12 and sent to AFP on Monday.

"In the opposite case... the Seleka will make it a duty to do all in its power... to change, sooner or later, this predatory regime in the country, which has done nothing to bring justice and peace back to the Centrafrican hearth," the statement warned.

The rebels demanded "respect for the (peace) accord" signed in 2007 between the government of the unstable, landlocked nation and the rebel group the Union of Democratic Forces for Unity (UFDR).

The "Seleka" coalition was formed in August by dissident factions of the UFDR and the Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace (CPJP), two former rebel groups that have signed peace deals with the government and were supposed to have laid down their arms.

The third group in the alliance is the Wa Kodro Salute Patriotic Convention (CPSK).

The groups claimed a series of recent attacks on three northern and central towns, including Ndele, which UFDR dissident leader Michel Djotodia said Sunday that his group had seized.

The town of more than 15,000 people close to the border with Chad was attacked because Bozize was "acting in bad faith", Djotodia said. He charged that the president had breached the 2007 peace accord by failing to deal with poverty.

The rebels denounced "the exclusion and the contempt, the favouritism and the tribalism" they blamed on the head of state and his family, as well as "the looting of the wealth of Centrafricans by the government authorities who are supposed to protect them".

Bozize seized power in a coup in 2003 and has twice since been elected into office, in 2005 and 2011.

The Central African Republic has been rocked by regular rebellions and coups since the fall in 1979 of military dictator Jean-Bedel Bokassa.

The instability has hobbled progress in a country that ranks among the world's poorest despite a wealth of raw materials such as uranium, diamonds and timber.

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