C.Africa militia is an enemy of peace: French commander
Baku-APA. The commander of French troops in the Central African Republic on Monday accused a militia known as the anti-balaka of being the country's "main enemy of peace" who would be defeated as outlaws and thugs, APA reports quoting Reuters.
The mainly Christian vigilantes have been accused of brutal attacks against Muslim rebels after the ouster of president Francois Bozize in March last year by predominantly Muslim rebels led by Michel Djotodia, who was himself forced out last month after failing to end the sectarian violence.
"Those who call themselves 'anti-balaka' have become the main enemy of peace in the Central African Republic, branding (entire) communities and attacking" French forces, General Francisco Soriano said in a meeting in Bangui with the country's religious leaders.
A French operation codenamed Sangaris to end the unrest was launched two months ago.
General Soriano told AFP that nothing was known about the militia's chain of command, its leader or its political message.
Soriano said he would not garrison the militia members as suggested by its self-styled "political coordinator", Patrice Edouard Ngaissona, because this would "give them a legitimacy they don't have and give them the possibility to become a force they're not".
"There will be no cantonment, they will rather be chased away as outlaws and thugs," he added.
Ngaissona has criticised the new government's "ingratitude" for sidelining his forces, but said he was ready to disarm.
"They have no memory, we are the ones who saved them," Ngaissona told AFP in his stronghold of Boy-Rabe, a neighbourhood in the north of the capital Bangui.
Ngaissona, who was a minister in the government that was ousted last year as well as head of the country's football federation, defended the group's actions.
"For several months, the international community did nothing. Nobody told Djotodia and his mercenaries to stop. So, in July, the people rose up.
"There should be a recognition of anti-balaka's role in liberating the people of Central Africa."
Ngaissona also criticised the new president, Catherine Samba Panza, who was appointed on January 20, for failing to appoint him or other anti-balaka to the transitional government.
"Madam said she would take counsel and ministers from us, but she has done nothing," he said. "She is hated today as a result of her government and cabinet."
Ngaissona described the ongoing violence against Muslims as a "settling of scores" and blamed abuses on "rogue thugs".
He acknowledges that he has "judicial problems" -- he was incarcerated in the early 2000s for corruption and remains subject to several ongoing investigations -- but says this is just an excuse to keep him out of power.
Bangui Archbishop Dieudonne Nzapalainga meanwhile called on the media not to refer to the vigilantes as "Christian militias".
"In the 1990s, village militias protected people from highwaymen," he said. "Call them self-defence militias, village militias but please spare us the word 'Christian'" in this context.
"Muslims are not the only ones suffering from the anti-balaka. We have all become victims," he added.
Related news releases
- 18.02.2017Roadside blast kills three soldiers in Egypt’s Sinai
- 17.02.2017Gas leak kills 6 at South African naval base
- 15.02.2017100 killed in clashes in Congo
- 14.02.2017Ethnic clashes in central Mali kill at least 13
- 11.02.2017Cameroon police kill two in protests in English-speaking northwest
- 11.02.2017Stampede at Angolan stadium kills 17: hospital director
- 11.02.2017Heavily armed militiamen kill 30 in central DR Congo
- 10.02.2017Boko Haram kills seven Nigerian soldiers in ambush
- 10.02.2017More than 700 protest against government in Nigerian capital
- 08.02.2017Former premier wins Somali presidential election
- 08.02.2017Nigerian court rejects state bid to ban hijab in school
- 07.02.2017Moroccan police clash with protesters
- 04.02.2017Peugeot to open vehicle assembly plant in Kenya
- 02.02.2017Ugandan policeman kills himself, wife after HIV test
- 01.02.2017U.N. says team attacked on Nigeria-Cameroon border, five dead
- 30.01.2017Morocco rejoins African Union
- 26.01.2017Gambia's new President Adama Barrow arrives home
- 25.01.2017Somali militants ram car bomb into hotel, killing at least 13
- 23.01.2017Somalia: Al-Shabaab fighting kills 5
- 23.01.2017Gambia’s new president names woman as vice president
- 22.01.2017Jammeh steps down in Gambia, leaves country
- 22.01.2017Mauritius prime minister resigns in favor of his son
- 21.01.2017Gambia's Jammeh Agrees to Step Down
- 20.01.2017Gambia army chief recognizes President Barrow as commander-in-chief
- 20.01.2017Regional leaders postpone Gambia military intervention
- 20.01.2017Gambia’s president-elect takes oath at Senegal embassy
- 19.01.2017New Gambian President Sworn in Abroad as Incumbent Leader Refuses to Step Down
- 19.01.2017US airstrikes kill over 80 İS ghters in Libya
- 18.01.2017Death toll from Mali explosion reaches 80
- 17.01.2017Nigerian jet strikes refugee camp in error, reportedly killing more than 100
- 17.01.2017Gambia's President Jammeh declares state of emergency
- 17.01.2017At least six killed in attack on police checkpoint in Egypt
- 14.01.2017Sanctions ended, Sudan pledges to act against terrorism
- 14.01.2017U.S. moves to lift decades-old trade embargo against Sudan
- 13.01.2017Nine dead, 26 injured in multiple blasts: Nigeria
- 09.01.2017Morocco political deadlock deepens as premier ends coalition talks
- 08.01.2017Ivory Coast government reaches deal to end army mutiny
- 08.01.20175 killed, 13 injured in twin blasts in Mogadishu
- 05.01.2017Zambia president announces 3rd-term bid
- 05.01.2017Three suicide bombers killed in Nigeria’s northeast
- 11.02.2014Nigerian president sacks chief of staff: sources
- 11.02.2014Egypt sets Feb. 20 for Al-Jazeera trial
- 11.02.2014At least 119 dead after military plane crashes in Algeria
- 11.02.2014South Sudan rebels say they will boycott latest peace talks
- 08.02.201416 Jihadists killed in army raid in Egypt's Sinai
- 08.02.2014U.S. delegation leaves Tunisian constitution celebration after spat with Iranian official