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2013-03-25

AFRICA/CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC - Seleka conquers the capital

Bangui (Agenzia Fides) - The rebel coalition Seleka entered Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic. The advance of the rebels toward the capital began on March 22 (see Fides 22/03/2013) and ended yesterday, Sunday, March 24. In the fighting, according to what the South African President Jacob Zuma said, 13 South African military died and 27 others were injured. The soldiers are part of the military contingent sent from Pretoria to help the deposed Central African President François Bozizé. The latter probably fled the Democratic Republic of Congo, where his family found shelter.
The head of Seleka, Michel Djotodia, declared himself Head of State and announced that the agreements in Libreville on 11 January will be respected. The coalition government led by Nicolas Tiangaye will therefore remain in office even if there are ministerial re-arrangements. Djotodia launched an appeal for an end to the looting and to restore security. Several homes were looted by the rebels, by the soldiers and police of the old regime who removed their uniforms, as well as thugs of various kinds.
According to several observers, the stability of the Country, however, is still far away. Seleka is in fact a coalition of various rebel groups, whose only bond was the expulsion of Bozizé. Now that Djotodia declared himself President, divisions emerge. Among his domestic opponents there is Nourradine Adam, the head of one of the groups that form Seleka, the CPJP (Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace), and Firmin Findiro, former Minister of Justice dismissed by Bozizé. His opponents complain that the proximity of the Chadian President Idriss Déby Djotodia Itno, whose military contingent in Central Africa did not stop the rebel advance, unlike the South African troops. France has reinforced its military mission, whose job, says Paris, is limited to the protection of French citizens in the Country.
In another context, that of Mali, the French troops fight side by side against the jihadi groups. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 25/03/2013)

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