December 29, 2012

Troops to help in Central African Republic

A coalition of African states will send soldiers as renewed attacks by rebels increases instability.

The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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President Francois Bozize addresses a crowd Thursday in Bangui, Central African Republic. Bozize has called on foreign powers to help his government fend off rebels who are quickly seizing territory and pose a threat to the capital city of Bangui.

The Associated Press

The rebels behind the most recent instability signed a 2007 peace accord allowing them to join the regular army, but insurgent leaders say the deal wasn't fully implemented. The rebel forces have seized at least 10 towns across the sparsely populated north of the country, and residents in the capital now fear the insurgents could attack at any time, despite assurances by rebel leaders that they are willing to engage in dialogue instead of attacking Bangui.

The rebels have claimed that their actions are justified in light of the "thirst for justice, for peace, for security and for economic development of the people of Central African Republic."

Despite Central African Republic's wealth of gold, diamonds, timber and uranium, the government remains perpetually cash-strapped.

The rebels also are demanding that the government make payments to ex-combatants, suggesting that their motives may also be for personal financial gain.

Paris is encouraging peace talks between the government and the rebels, with the French Foreign Ministry noting in a statement that negotiations are due to "begin shortly in Libreville (Gabon)." But it was not immediately clear if any dates have been set for those talks.

The U.N.'s most powerful body condemned the recent violence and expressed concern about the developments.

"The members of the Security Council reiterate their demand that the armed groups immediately cease hostilities, withdraw from captured cities and cease any further advance towards the city of Bangui," the statement said.

 

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