Ceasefire agreed in Central African Republic

Published 24 July 2014  |  
(Photo: Marcus Bleasdale/VII for Human Rights Watch)
Machetes are confiscated by FOMAC troops as those displaced by the fighting between anti-balaka and Seleka forces enter the FOMAC compound for safety. December 6, 2013.

A ceasefire has been agreed in the Central African Republic in an effort to end more than a year of spiralling sectarian violence.

Representatives from the Séléka rebels and the anti-Balaka militants signed a landmark document on Wednesday in Brazzaville, the capital city of neighbouring Congo. The ceremony was broadcast live on Congo state television.

Following an intense day of negotiations on Monday, the Séléka failed to show up on Tuesday. The head of the anti-Balaka delegation insisted yesterday that those who violated the agreement would be arrested.

Mohammed Moussa Dhaffane, leader of the Séleka negotiation team, added that the ceasefire was "firm and irreversible".

However, the BBC reports that fighting has continued in Bambari, a volatile town in central CAR – underlining mediator Denis Sassoi's words that the agreement is just "the first step".

Further talks are expected to include a breakdown of the details of the ceasefire.

CAR has been beset by violence since the majority-Muslim Séléka drove out President Francois Bozizé in a coup in March 2013. Though the group has since disbanded, they continued to target towns and villages across the country, which caused the uprising of an opposing Christian faction, the anti-Balaka.

Both groups have only loose ties with their religious affiliations, and Muslim and Christian leaders from CAR united to condemn the conflict.

More than a million civilians have been displaced by the conflict, and thousands killed. An estimated 2.2 million of CAR's 4.6 million population are believed to be in need of humanitarian aid.

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