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Central African Republic and Rebel groups sign peace deal

West & Central Africa

Central African Republic and Rebel groups sign peace deal

Rebel groups and the Central African Republic (CAR) government have signed a peace deal which is hoped will bring the five-year-old war between Muslim militia called the Seleka and the Christian militia known as the Anti-Balaka to an end.

Announcing the deal, African Union commissioner Smail Chergui said, “we have finalized a peace agreement in Khartoum, enabling the people of Central African Republic to embark on a path of reconciliation, agreement and development,” Mr Chergui tweeted on Saturday adding that “this is a great day for Central African Republic and all its people.” 

President Faustin-Archange Touadera , on his Twitter, said, “this agreement should be initialed tomorrow (Sunday) and its signing will take place in Bangui in a few days.” 

Child rebel soldier

The 30-page peace pact titled the ‘Political Accord for Peace and Reconciliation’, signedWednesday 6 February,  is the eighth since the fighting began in 2013 but the first to emerge from direct dialogue. The deal raised four major issues; justice, peace, and national reconciliation.

In the peace deal, the parties agreed that armed groups will respect the legitimacy of the country’s institutions and stop attacks against the defense and security forces, U.N. personnel and humanitarian workers.

The agreementalso said there will not be any act of destruction, occupation of public buildings, place of worship and violence against the civilian population, as well as acts of sexual or gender-based violence.

The militia groups will on their part, be able to create political parties.

The government, on its part, will monitor the agreement and reintegrate leaders of armed groups who formerly served as civil servants or in the military.

The government is to set up a Truth, Justice, Reparation and Reconciliation Commission within 90 days, to shorten any long negotiation of amnesty for the armed group leaders.

The parties will also set up mixed security units that will eventually dissolve into the unit under the authority of the state and to participate in disarmament, demobilization, reintegration, and repatriation within two months.

A spokesman for the Popular Front for the Rebirth of Central African Republic, FPRC, armed faction said consensus had been reached on sticking points which included an amnesty for militia fighters and an inclusive government. “We were able to agree on what is essential for the Central African Republic peace. We hope this agreement will bring back social cohesion to the country,” Abakar Sabom said.

Children holding peace signs

The country was thrown into war in 2013 when Muslim rebels from the Seleka Islamic group seized power in the majority-Christian country and attacked villages and communities with guns and machetes. Rape was used as a weapon of war which earned the country the rape country of the world. A band of mostly Christian militias, called the anti-Balaka, rose up to counter the Seleka insurgency.

The conflict has killed thousandsof people and displaced a quarter of the population of 4.5 million from their homes. The United Nations has deployed about 13,000 peacekeepers costing nearly $900m (£688m) per year in the mission known as Minusca

Hassan John is West Africa Editor GCN and Priest of the Anglican Diocese of Jos: Image Credits: Google Images: Signing peace deal/Kids holding signs/Child rebel soldier/

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