Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Central African Republic Factions Announce Ceasefire
Anti-French demonstrations in the Central African Republic.
Rival armed groups in the Central African Republic have signed a ceasefire agreement aimed at ending over a year of religious conflict.

The agreement was signed in Congo between Muslim Seleka rebels and the Christian anti-Balaka militia.

As part of the deal, the Seleka dropped their demand for CAR's partition.

Thousands of people have been killed and almost a quarter of the country's 4.6 million inhabitants have been forced from their homes.

Muslims have been forced to flee the capital city and most of the west of the country, in what rights groups described as ethnic cleansing.

Both sides have been accused of war crimes such as torture and unlawful killing.

The negotiations began in the Congolese capital of Brazzaville on Monday.

"We have signed this ceasefire agreement today in front of everyone. Our commitment is firm and irreversible" said Mohamed Moussa Dhaffane, who headed the Seleka delegation.

Patrick Edouard Ngaissona, head of the anti-Balaka negotiating team, said anyone caught violating the ceasefire would be arrested.

'First step'

The president of the Republic of Congo and mediator of the talks, Denis Sassou Nguesso, said the talks were a success.

"The longest journey begins with the first step... Brazzaville is the first step," he said after the agreement was signed.

The Seleka rebels dropped their demand for CAR to be partitioned into a Muslim north and a Christian south.

Further talks are due to be held in CAR to decide details such as disarmament and the country's political transition.

The latest trouble in CAR began when mainly Muslim rebels seized power in March last year.
CAR's religious make-up:

Christians - 50%
Muslims - 15%
Indigenous beliefs - 35%
Source: Index Mundi

The majority Christian state then descended into ethno-religious warfare.

The presence of some 7,000 international peacekeepers has also failed to put an end to the violence and revenge attacks.

Earlier this month Amnesty international named at least 20 people it says are suspected of ordering or committing atrocities and suggests they should be tried under international law by a hybrid court using national and international experts.

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