Rebels seize another town in Central Republic

Updated 24 December 2012
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Rebels seize another town in Central Republic

BANGUI: Rebels in the Central African Republic said on Saturday they had seized another town in a push toward the capital Bangui in defiance of calls from regional leaders to halt their advance and accept peace talks.
The rebels said the call for negotiations was another excuse for President Francois Bozize, who seized power in a coup in 2003, to buy more time and cling to power.
"The people of the Central African Republic ... do not have that much time to waste in long negotiations which in the end will benefit General Francois Bozize in his will to hold on to power beyond 2016," the rebels said in a statement.
"Our objective is simple: change the misrule of General Francois Bozize by force or through dialogue. And if it is through dialogue, then it will be a consensual solution, involving all components of the political and social life of our country," said the rebels, known as the Seleka alliance.
Long-running instability in landlocked CAR, roughly the size of former colonial master France, has discouraged major investment in its timber, gold, uranium and diamond deposits.
A mix of local rebellions, banditry, ethnic tensions and the spill-over of conflicts in neighbouring Chad, Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo has undermined efforts to stabilise the nation which has suffered misrule since independence in 1960.
Regional heads of state of the 10-nation Central Africa bloc on Friday demanded the rebels pull back their forces to original positions and accept talks with the government within a week.
The alliance, composed of splinters from previous rebellions, has complained that Bozize has failed to implement the terms of a 2007 peace accord, which include payouts to rebels soldiers.
The rebels have captured nine towns in their two-week push towards the capital, including the diamond-mining town of Bria in the centre of the country, meeting little resistance from the ill-equipped government forces.
The statement, signed by Justin Mambissi Matar, secretary general for the alliance, said they took the town of Ippy about 500 km (300 miles) from the capital on Friday.
The government of the Central African Republic was not immediately available to comment on Saturday.
The rebels also warned neighbouring Chad against intervening in the conflict after Chadian troops were deployed into the country to help stop the rebel advance, following a request from President Bozize.
"To our knowledge, neither the African Union nor the UN Security Council decided on a resolution authorizing Chad to go shoot Central Africans," the statement said.
President Bozize took power originally with support from Chad President Idriss Deby and has called on Chad on several occasions to help fight off rebellions.
FROM: REUTERS


86 people killed in central Nigeria violence: police

Updated 43 min 38 sec ago
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86 people killed in central Nigeria violence: police

  • Analysts believe it could become Nigeria’s biggest security concern, eclipsing Boko Haram’s Islamist insurgency that has left at least 20,000 dead since 2009
  • The violence — fueled by ethnic, religious and political allegiances — has killed thousands over several decades

JOS, Nigeria: Eighty-six people have been killed in an attack by suspected nomadic herders against farming communities in restive central Nigeria, police said on Sunday.
The discovery in the Barikin Ladi area of Plateau state came after days of violence apparently sparked by an attack by ethnic Berom farmers on Fulani herders on Thursday.
State police commissioner Undie Adie said a search of Berom villages in the area following clashes on Saturday found “86 persons altogether were killed.”
Adie told reporters six people were also injured and 50 houses razed. Bodies of those who died have been released to their families, he added.
The deaths are the latest in a long-running battle for land and resources that is putting President Muhammadu Buhari under pressure as elections approach next year.
The violence — fueled by ethnic, religious and political allegiances — has killed thousands over several decades.
Analysts believe it could become Nigeria’s biggest security concern, eclipsing Boko Haram’s Islamist insurgency that has left at least 20,000 dead since 2009.
The Plateau state government said it had imposed restrictions on movements in the Riyom, Barikin Ladi and Jos South areas “to avert a breakdown of law and order.”
“The curfew takes effect immediately... and movement is restricted from 6:00 p.m. (1700 GMT) to 6:00 am, except (for) those on essential duties,” said spokesman Rufus Bature.
On Sunday, ethnic Berom youths set up barricades on the Jos-Abuja highway and attacked motorists who looked “Fulani and Muslim,” according to those who escaped the violence.
Plateau state police spokesman Tyopev Terna and Major Adam Umar, from the military taskforce in the state capital, Jos, confirmed the blockade and vandalism to several cars.
There were no official reports of deaths but Baba Bala, who escaped the violence on the road, said at least six people were killed.
“I was lucky the convoy of the (Plateau) state government was passing through the scene of the attack shortly after I ran into the attackers,” he said.
“I escaped with smashed windscreens and dents on my car. I saw six dead bodies and several damaged cars.”