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Central African nation to sign peace deal with rebels

Central African nation to sign peace deal with rebels

A Central African Republic rebel group and the government were to sign a deal Friday to end to hostilities and share power, officials said.
"The time has come to make peace and work together for the reconstruction of our country," said Damane Zakaria, the military chief of the rebel Union of Democratic Forces Coalition, known by its French acronym, UFDR, in a telephone interview.
The peace accord is to be signed Friday afternoon. Charlotte Ridung, a spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said President Francois Bozize along with a U.N. official had left the capital by plane early Friday morning heading for the northeastern town of Birao, the rebel base, for the signing.
The UFDR rebels are only one of several rebel groups active in the nation of 3.6 million _ another rebellion has waxed and waned in the northwest. Still, the proposed peace deal could bring stability to the northeast, where French mirage jets were recently sent to bombard Birao in an effort to put down the rebellion.
According to a draft of the peace accord shown to The Associated Press, both government forces and UFDR rebels have agreed to end hostilities. The UFDR has agreed to sequester its men in an army cantonment, from where they will eventually be reintegrated into the national army.
In return, the government has agreed to accept the UFDR as a political party, which will contribute to the management of the country so long as it does not resort to violence, the draft agreement said.
A law will be passed extending amnesty to former UFDR fighters and a joint committee will be set up to monitor the peace process, the draft said.
Central African Republic has suffered decades of army revolts, coups and rebellions since it gained independence from France in 1960. Poor and landlocked, it is governed by Bozize, who came to power in a 2003 rebel war that ousted his predecessor, Ange-Felix Patasse.


Updated : 2021-10-26 20:48 GMT+08:00