The Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), a rebel group in the Central African Republic (CAR), has accepted to unilaterally call off fighting following an appeal from heads of state of the Great Lakes Region and Chad.
Abakar Sabome, the spokesperson for CPC, announced the ceasefire agreement on Tuesday.
“The heads of state and government called on the rebel forces to declare an immediate unilateral ceasefire, to liberate the periphery of Bangui and to return to their initial positions,” a final communique after the meeting held in the Angolan capital, Luanda, on Friday, said.
The CPC through Sabome shortly after the publication of the communique, saluted the Angolan initiative, although he said the group was satisfied with the form but disagreed with the substance.
“We salute the Angolan initiative. And we are very satisfied with the form but we do not agree with the substance,” Sabome said.
“We congratulate all these heads of state who took part in the meeting in spite of their very charged schedules.
“Yes to a unilateral ceasefire considering the respect we have towards you, the heads of state of Africa, in whom we have so much respect and confidence. We totally submit to this unilateral ceasefire in view of the respect we have for you.
“But this ceasefire, it is necessary for us to be told what it is all about. For how long will it last? And what follows after it?’ the CPC spokesperson asked.
Sabome further hinted that the group would react in a very severe manner if the CAR government failed to respect the terms of the agreement.
“The ceasefire would be respected for two, three, four days, etc. but we would remain on our guard and if the government does not respect it and tries to attack our positions, we will react in a very severe manner,” he said.
Concerning the encirclement of Bangui, the CAR national capital, he noted that “it should rather be underlined that Bangui should not be attacked because our men are already in Bangui”.
The government of President Faustin Archange Touadera is yet to reply to the call by the heads of state but some youths close to the government have demonstrated in the streets calling on the government not to accept the ceasefire.
“Any ceasefire now at a time when the CPC rebels have their backs to the wall would only give them ample opportunity to rearm and re-strategize,” said one youth who took part in the demonstration on Monday.
“The alacrity with which they have welcomed the ceasefire call is an indication of the fact that they were really being completely routed,” the youth said.
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