Central African Republic pres. offers peace talks

Central African Republic pres. offers peace talks
# 15 December 2013 02:51 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. The president of the Central African Republic (CAR) has expressed readiness to hold talks with militias in a bid to stop violence in the crisis-hit country, APA reports quoting Press TV.

Michel Djotodia, who became CAR’s first president in March, told French radio RFI on Saturday that he was ready to “extend his hand” and “talk” with Christian militia groups known as anti-balaka.

Referring to the groups, he said in the interview, “They are not enemies. They are our brothers.”

He offered an amnesty and a role in government to the groups.

In addition to anti-balaka militia, there are some other groups, especially Seleka rebels, involved in the country’s bloody conflicts.

Djotodia’s government blames the violence in the country on former rebels of the Seleka coalition, who brought him to power by launching an offensive against the government in December 2012 and finally ousting then President Francois Bozizé in March.

On September 13, Djotodia dissolved the rebel group. Some of the rebels later joined the country’s regular army while some defied.

A recent UN report blamed the Seleka rebels for much of the chaos in the country, saying “uncontrolled Seleka elements and unidentified armed groups” in the country committed "arbitrary arrests and detention, sexual violence against women and children, torture, rape, targeted killings, recruitment of child soldiers, and attacks."

In July, the International Federation for Human Rights said at least 400 murders by Seleka-affiliated groups had been documented since March.

There are many mineral resources, including gold and diamond, in the Central African Republic. However, the country is extremely poor and has faced a series of rebellions and coups since it gained independence in 1960.

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