Fri, Jul 25, 2014 - Page 6 News List

Rival CAR forces sign ceasefire pact in Brazzaville

Reuters, BRAZZAVILLE

The Central African Republic’s (CAR) mainly Muslim Seleka rebels signed a ceasefire with the “Anti-Balaka” Christian militia on Wednesday, after having dropped their demand for the country to be split in two along religious lines.

Seleka’s call for the country to be officially partitioned into a Muslim north and a Christian south risked derailing talks aimed at ending religious violence that has killed thousands of people. The demand was dropped after hours with talks with Congolese President Denis Sassou N’Guesso earlier on Wednesday.

The ceasefire was signed in Brazzaville after three days of talks hosted by Sassou N’Guesso, mediator in neighboring CAR’s crisis, which has forced a million people, or about a quarter of the population, to flee their homes.

“We have taken the first step today. The journey is long, but we have made promises. After what has happened here, I am confident,” Sassou N’Guesso said at the signing ceremony.

The Brazzaville talks have involved dozens of members of armed groups, the transitional government and civil society members. Further negotiations will now be held in the CAR to hammer out details over disarmament and mapping out the country’s political future.

“We have signed this ceasefire agreement today in front of everyone. Our commitment is firm and irreversible,” said Mohamed Moussa Dhaffane, head of the Seleka delegation at the talks.

Patrick Edouard Ngaissona, head of the Anti-Balaka delegation, said anyone caught breaking the ceasefire would be arrested.

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