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CAR Armed Groups, Govt Begin New Peace Talks

Three Central African Republic rebel group leaders and representatives of the government started talks in the capital Bangui Monday aimed at bringing peace to the war-torn country.

The three rebel leaders are Ali Darrassa of the Unite pour la Paix en Centrafrique, Abdoulaye Hissen of the Front for the Rebirth of Central Africa popularly known by its French abbreviation FPRC and Mahamat Alkhatim of the Mouvement pour la Centrafrique (MPC).

They were all flown to Bangui in a plane hired by the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).  

All the three leaders, each of whom was accompanied by high-powered members of their movements have since Friday, November 6 been lodged in several hotels in the capital including the Hotel Lewis, Hotel du Centre and Hotel National.

The talks were convened at the instance of the Central African head of state President Faustin Archange Touadera.

It should be recalled that before this new attempt, Michel Am-Nondokro Djotodia, the former transitional head of state and former rebel leader, had last month tried in vain to organise a “big gathering for peace” with the different rebel leaders of the former Seleka coalition and the auto-defence militia Anti-Balaka. The initiative was at the instance of President Touadera.

After the Djotodia’s failure, the President decided to organise the peace meeting grouping the various armed groups himself hence the current meeting.

Among those invited to the Bangui meeting are prefects, sultans, army generals of the different armed groups including Hissen Damboucha, the former Bria zone commander who recently tried to marry a 17-year-old girl as his third wife.

While there is optimism as to the success of the meeting in some quarters, a large segment of the Central African Republic community is of the opinion that the current initiative might end up as the one that led to the signing of a peace accord in Khartoum, Sudan on February 6, 2019, between the armed groups and the Central African government. 

Many believe that the new initiative is a sort of electoral gimmick aimed at gaining support for the president in the 27 December 2020 elections.

“That is not true”, declared an adviser to President Touadera who refused to identify himself.

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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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