World Bulletin / News Desk
Leaders of the African peacekeeping force in the Central African Republic (CAR), known as MISCA, met on Wednesday with leaders of the anti-balaka Christian militia group in the troubled capital Bangui to discuss disarmament.
"Our commanders today went to the anti-balaka headquarters and told their leaders to tell their men to disarm," spokesman Sandou Jean-Pierre told Anadolu Agency.
He said the anti-balaka leaders told MISCA commanders that they will talk to their soldiers and give the peacekeepers a date for disarmament.
"If they don’t cooperate we shall use force like we have been doing with the ex-seleka," Jean-Pierre said.
The self-styled Christian militia was initially formed to defend Christian communities against attacks by the former seleka rebels.
But the militiamen have been accused of perpetrating atrocities against the Muslims in the country, particularly in the capital Bangui.
CAR, a mineral-rich, landlocked country, descended into anarchy in March, when Seleka rebels – said to be mostly Muslim – ousted Christian president François Bozize, who had come to power in a 2003 coup.
For months the countries was plagued by tit-for-tat sectarian violence between the anti-balaka and former seleka fighters.
Interim president Michael Djotodia, the country's first Muslim president since its independence from France, stepped down last Friday during a regional summit in neighboring Chad.
The 135-member National Transitional Council (NTC), CAR's interim parliament, in expected to soon elected a new head of state.
The MISCA spokesman said relative peace had returned to the troubled capital after days of shelling between rival militias since Djotodia's resignation.
"People are eagerly waiting for the new interim leader who will be elected by the National Transitional council on Saturday," he told AA.
"Let’s wait and see what will happen after that but for now it’s fairly peaceful."
Many residents are attributing the current relative stability to a decision by NTC Alexandre Nguendet, who now serves as interim president, to recall national soldiers who had deserted the army to return to work and patrol streets alongside the peacekeepers.
"I have seen many former soldiers on the streets and I think this is a good gesture of rebuilding one of our national institutions which had collapsed," Patrick Nde, a resident of Bangui, told AA.
On Monday, Nguendet ordered the deployment of hundreds of more troops to Bangui with instructions to shoot troublemakers "at point blank range."Last Mod: 16 Ocak 2014, 10:54