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C.African rebels revoke decision to halt gov’t role

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Central Africa's President Francois Bozize signs the decree appointing Nicolas Tiangaye as new prime minister on January 17, 2013 in Bangui. Central African rebels briefly suspended their role in the country's new national unity government Wednesday before quickly revoking the decision, saying they didn't want to fall into President Francois Bozize's "trap" by pulling out. - Copyright : AFP/File

LIBREVILLE (AFP)

Central African rebels briefly suspended their role in the country’s new national unity government Wednesday before quickly revoking the decision, saying they didn’t want to fall into President Francois Bozize’s “trap” by pulling out.

“We finally decided to take our role in government,” General Mohamed Moussa Dhaffane, one of the rebel leaders, told AFP from the capital Bangui. “We thought of suspending our participation but ultimately we figured it might be a trap by President Bozize.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Dhaffane had told AFP that the rebel grouping known as Seleka was halting its participation because the make-up of the new government was not in line with a peace deal struck last month between the rebels and the ruling party.

Under the power-sharing agreement, which ended a nearly month-long insurgency in the impoverished landlocked state, the opposition and rebels were given several key posts in the new government.

But despite getting the important defence portfolio, the rebels have since said they were short-changed and have accused Bozize of seeking to weaken ministers’ powers.

After announcing they were pulling out on Wednesday, the Seleka alliance held an internal meeting and decided to return to government, said Dhaffane, accusing Bozize of “seeking to divide us”.

The Seleka coalition launched its offensive on December 10, arguing that Bozize’s regime had failed to comply with previous peace deals that should have given demobbed rebels jobs or integrated them in the regular forces.

The Seleka insurgency was the latest in a series of uprisings that have rocked the country, which has been notoriously unstable since its independence from France in 1960.

Signature : Patrick Fort

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