Situation in Central African Republic Fragile Even as Rebels, Government Sign Peace Deal

From Enough blogs Thu Jan 17 2013, 11:43:04

After a month-long standoff, the Central African Republic government and a rebel alliance agreed upon a peace deal to end an uprising that threatened to spark a humanitarian crisis and un-seat President François Bozizé. The coup attempt began on December 10 and had since come within 45 miles of the capital of Bangui, threatening the 700,000 residents living in the city. Over the month of fighting, the rebels took over key mining areas in the country, destroyed hundreds of homes, and displaced thousands of civilians. UNICEF said that the rebels have forcibly recruited children to fight and serve as porters and sex slaves.

The days leading up to the negotiation talks between the CAR government and the Seleka rebels were filled with uncertainty around the prospect of coming to a peace agreement. Bangui signed many agreements in years past with various rebel groups. In late 2012, Seleka was born out of frustration that a previous peace agreement signed in 2007 was never honored.

"Failure to go further to discuss the reasons for the lack of implementation of previous agreements and to correct these may lead to another meltdown, a few years down the line again, as a result of lost expectations and frustrations," warned U.N. special envoy to Central African Republic Margaret Vogt after the signing of the latest agreement.

Seleka, which means 'alliance' in a local CAR language called Sango, is made up of four separate groups that have history of fighting one another. Analysts ...

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