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CAR President Declares Ceasefire With Surrendering Rebels

Although the President is insisting on a ceasefire with some elements, rebel leaders have denied surrendering.

President of the Central African Republic, Faustin Archange Touadera has declared a ceasefire calling on “the defense and security forces to no longer militarily pursue rebel combatants who have laid down their arms.”

“This ceasefire concerns only those rebels who have laid down their arms. The national army, FACA, and allied forces will continue their work of securing the country,” explained Albert Yaloke Mokpeme, presidential spokesperson in Bangui the capital on Sunday, Oct. 17.

Speaking in response to rumours and speculations on the import of the presidential decree suspending all military operations against armed groups throughout the national territory, Mokpeme clarified that a communique from the military high command on the ceasefire would be published soon indicating where rebels who have laid down their arms would be camped.

“This does not remove anything from the work of the defense and security forces in case of attack,” he said.

“They must exercise their right to protection. We are no longer within the context of military operations which consist of pursuing to their last hiding place, elements of the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) who took up arms.”

“Today, they have decided to lay down their arms, to hand over their positions and we are going to disarm and camp them.”

“The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) has to continue its work of maintaining peace and the protection of the population.”

“The FACA and their allies will continue their work of securing the country. As for the rebels of the Front Populaire pour la Renaissance de CentreAfrique (FRPC) and the Unite pour la Paix en Centrafrique (UPC) who refuse to lay down their arms, they will be considered as enemies to peace by our defense and security forces.”

Meanwhile, Abakar Sabome, the CPC spokesperson, says the ceasefire is a good thing.

Sabome, however, noted that “confidential information reaching them revealed that the head of state is recruiting 500 rebels from the ranks of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) who have been committing numerous crimes in the eastern DR Congo, to come to the Central African Republic and fight them – CPC.”

“This ceasefire is a game which has only one goal, namely deceiving the national and international community for the second time,” the CPC spokesperson  said.

The Return, Reclamation and Rehabilitation (3R) rebel group has also expressed reticence over the camping and disarmament of combatants announced by the government.

“We are not stupid to fall for the second time into their trap,” a self-proclaimed ‘General’ of the 3R said. The UPC said they would carry on with the fighting until death.

The FPRC of Nourredine Adam says it would continue fighting though a good segment of its elements have been disarmed.

President Faustin Archange Touadera on Oct. 15, signed a decree declaring a ceasefire throughout the national territory.

According to Touadera, “peace has no price and there is no real peace but that emanating from frank dialogue between sons and daughters of a country torn apart by interminable crises as our own.”

“We must give peace a chance whatever atrocities and injustices suffered,” President Touadera said.

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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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