#CAR: Uncertainty over peace agreement after departure of armed group

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The peace agreement in the Central African Republic, signed in early February between Bangui and 14 armed groups, is in turmoil since the formation of a new government on Sunday: a major armed group announced to leave the government team and another withdraw from the ‘agreement.

The Democratic Front of the Central African People ( FDPC , an armed group locally based in the north-west of the country, but not present at the national level) announced Monday “to withdraw purely and simply from the peace process”.

In a statement, the armed group believes that the new government formed Sunday is “far from inclusive” as provided for in the Khartoum agreement, and “does not take into account the expectations of the signatories”.

The FDPC did not obtain a ministerial portfolio on Sunday. On Sunday, another armed group, one of the country’s main, had chilled the peace deal by announcing the departure of the new government team.

“By playing We take the same and start again, the President of the Republic (…) has just smothered the hope “put by the Central African people in the peace agreement of Khartoum, according to the Popular Front for the Renaissance of the Central African Republic ( FPRC ).

The FPRC , which emerged from the former Muslim Seleka coalition, which had taken Bangui in 2013, overthrowing President François Bozizé, however did not say whether it was withdrawing completely from the peace agreement or not. The FPRC has control over a large part of the north of the country.

On Sunday, under the agreement signed on February 6 in Bangui and negotiated for weeks in Khartoum (Sudan), an “inclusive government” was formed.

But in the new government team, no regal ministry has changed ownership. Six of the 14 armed groups obtained a ministry.

In addition, the post of prime minister was awarded to a close friend of President Faustin-Archange Touadéra, his former chief of staff Firmin Ngrebada.

The armed groups, who originally demanded a prime minister from their ranks, did not win and hoped for significant portfolios, according to concordant sources.

In a statement in late February, the FPRC claimed eight ministerial morocco, including the post of Prime Minister.

“Barricades”
Since the signing of the agreement, there have been some armed incidents in the Central African Republic, but no major fighting has been observed.

On Monday, barricades were erected by the FDPC around Zoukombo, in the northwest about 100 km from Bouar, between Beloko and Bouar.

“Madam the prefect and the Minusca (mission of the UN in Central African Republic, ed) are en route for Zoukombo to pass a message of the Prime Minister with the FDPC “, indicated Monday morning with the AFP a prefectural source of Nana – Membéré .

“The Prime Minister wants them to understand that they will have places in the government,” said the source.

Authorities did not officially react Monday morning. “There may be incidents, difficulties, backtracking, but will that mean the agreement is out of date? No! “, Had hammered the end of February the Minister of Communication, Ange-Maxime Kazagui, in front of skeptical journalists at a press conference.

This peace agreement, supported by all Bangui partners and prepared since 2017 by the African Union (AU), is the eighth signed since the beginning of the crisis in 2013.

At the time, the Seleka march on Bangui had triggered a response by the anti-Balaka militias, assuring the defense of the interests of Christians and animists, plunging the country into a chaos from which it has not yet emerged.

None of the previous peace accords has resulted in a return of stability, nor has the Minusca, deployed in 2014 and with 11,000 peacekeepers.

It had replaced a French deployment, Sangaris, and must eventually give way to the Central African army, in reconstruction.

Rich in natural resources, the Central African Republic has been torn apart by the war since 2013. Nearly a quarter of its inhabitants have had to flee their homes and fighting is daily in the provinces, which are 80% controlled by armed groups.

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