Seleka rebels to cooperate with new CAR leader

Muslim seleka fighters have promised to work with the new Central African Republic government on the condition that they end violence against Muslims within a month.

Seleka rebels to cooperate with new CAR leader

World Bulletin / News Desk

Ex-seleka fighters said they will cooperate with newly-elected President Catherine Samba Panza for a month, but threatened to break away with the Muslim north if she failed to end sectarian violence against Muslims.

"As ex-seleka we welcome the election of the new president," General Mahamat Nouradine Adam, the incumbent minister of state for security and the powerful seleka coalition leader, told Anadolu Agency on Monday.

Panza, the Mayor of the capital Bangui, was earlier today elected by the National Transitional Council (NTC), the transitional parliament of the Central African Republic (CAR), as interim president.

The last round of NTC voting was between Panza and Desire Kolingba, son of former president Andre Kolingba.

Panza replaces Michel Djotodia, the country's first Muslim president since its independence from France, who stepped down earlier this month under international and regional pressures.

"We are worried if she will manage to contain the current situation being a woman without military experience," said General Adam.

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 country has been plagued by tit-for-tat sectarian violence between the anti-balaka and former seleka fighters.

Secession

Muslims, a religious minority in CAR, are expected to get the post of prime minister along with three ministerial portfolios in the new government, including the defense ministry.

"We shall work with the new president for a month," General Adam told AA.

"But if she fails to contain the current violence, we shall leave her cabinet and divide the country into a north for Muslims and south for Christians," thundered the feared general.

He warned that the current security situation had gravely deteriorated with Christian mobs attacking and killing Muslims on the streets.

On Sunday, two Muslims were killed and then burnt by a Christian mob in the capital Bangui.

International humanitarian group Save the Children has confirmed the killing of at least 23 Muslims, including three children, in an attack on a convoy of refugees on Friday.

In a Sunday statement, the International Committee of the Red Cross said its staff had buried 50 bodies within the past two days.

General Adam is not the first Muslim leader to threat to divide CAR along religious lines.

Last month, former tourism minister Abokar Sabone threatened France, which has troops deployed in the former colony under a UN mandate, to stop what he described as "aiding" Christian militias or else Muslims would break away.

The Christian militia was initially established to defend Christian communities against attacks by former seleka rebels.

But the militiamen have been accused of perpetrating atrocities against local Muslims, especially in capital Bangui.

UN concerned over violence

The United Nations on Monday adopted a resolution relaying deep concern over human rights violations in the Central African Republic (CAR) and called for a commission to investigate all abuses.

The international organisation's Human Rights Council (UNHRC) stated that it was deeply concerned by the continuing deterioration of the security situation in the country "characterized by the total breakdown of law and order, the absence of the rule of law, and religious and inter-sectarian tensions."

It announced the appointment of the Ivory Coast's Marie-Thérèse Keita Bocoum as an independent expert to monitor and report on the crisis.

The council called for an immediate halt to all human rights violations and abuses and highlighted the communal violence that took place in December 2013, which resulted in the death of hundreds of civilians, and announced that it was deeply concerned by multiple and increasing violations and abuse of international human rights law - "notably, those involving executions, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and detention, torture, sexual violence against women and children, rape, the recruitment of child soldiers and attacks against civilians."

The council noted UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's efforts to establish an international commission of inquiry in order to immediately investigate reports of violations since January 1 and called on all groups to abstain from violent actions against civilians.

Before the resolution was adopted, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay confirmed that at least 1,000 people were killed in two days of violence on December 6 and 5.

As of January 7, 936,000 people have been displaced in the country, half of them in capital Bangui.

Last Mod: 21 Ocak 2014, 13:25
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