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Ali Darassa, Rebel Leader, Returns Amid Celebrations In Central African Republic

Greeted by gunshots and cheers of joy from his supporters and militia, the rebel leader of the Unite pour la Paix en Centrafrique (Unity for for Peace in Central Africa) UPC movement Ali Darassa returned to his fief of Ghokologbo after a meeting in Bangui with the Central African Republic leader Faustin Archange Touadera on Monday, April 20. The meeting was at the invitation of the CAR leader.

Although no official statement was issued following the meeting, sources at the Prime Minister’s Office in Bangui revealed that discussions between Ali Darassa and President Touadera centred around the vexing situation concerning the appointment of Hassan Bouba, a senior member of Darassa’s movement as Minister of Animal Husbandry.

Prime Minister Firmin Ngrebada later revealed that during the meeting between the rebel leader and the President, the President agreed to withdraw the nomination until the two camps agreed on a compromise candidate. It was also agreed that Hassan Bouba’s appointment as Adviser to the Prime Minister would be dropped.

The discussions between the two were translated by an interpreter because Ali Darassa does not speak French nor does he understand Sango, the country’s main local language.

“During his few days stay in the capital Bangui and meetings with the President and Prime Minister, as well as several other senior government officials, Ali Darassa succeeded in persuading the government authorities to accept most of his demands,” an official in the Prime Minister’s Office who opted to remain anonymous because he is not the official government spokesperson revealed.

Besides his demand for the firing of the Minister of Animal Husbandry Hassan Bouba, government sources were reluctant to reveal the other demands he made on government which are said to have been accepted.

Ali Darassa, according to Prime Minister Firmin Ngrebada, was later handed an envelope containing a large sum of money. The head of government refused to reveal the amount of money contained in the envelope.

A member of Ali Darassa’s movement who refused to divulge his name said the rebel leader went to Bangui on business “and the money that was given to him was in connection with the business he went to discuss with government officials.”

It should be recalled that since the signing of a peace accord between the government of President Faustin Archange Touadera and 14 rebel groups on February 6, 2019, several leaders of the rebel groups have been given positions in the CAR cabinet and government ministries.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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