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US News Central African Republic: A Fire Ceasefire Lack of Substance

15:20  22 october  2021
15:20  22 october  2021 Source:   lepoint.fr

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  Centrafrique: un cessez-le-feu en manque de substance © AFP / Archives

U Weight After the Central African Chairman's surprise announcement of a "unilateral ceasefire" of his soldiers and their Russian allies and Rwandan in their war against rebels, experts and opposition believe that this truce is not viable.

This country among the poorest in the world has been the scene of many conflicts since its independence of the France in 1960, the last civil war started in 2013 persistent, even if it has fallen considerably from intensity for three years. However, 13 peace agreements since 2007 and several ceasefire announcements have never been held.

There are ten months ago, two-thirds of the territory were controlled by armed groups, the main ones of which launched an offensive in December 2020 to overthrow the President Faustin-Archange Touadéra which broke up a second presidential term.

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It was re-elected and called for the Moscow and Kigali rescue which have massively dispatched from the Russian paramilitaries - of the "mercenaries" of the private company WAGNER according to the UN - and Rwandan elite soldiers. These forces have reconquered the vast majority of the country and repulsed the rebels into the bush, from where they multiply guerrilla actions.

excluded from dialogue

on October 15, Mr. Touadéra justified his "unilateral ceasefire" by the need to promote the opening of a "republican dialogue", promised just after his re-election but still has not seen the day and for which no date is announced.

In his speech, Mr. Touadéra welcomed the coalition of the patriots for the change (CPC), the Rebel Alliance, also "signed the commitment to cease any armed action". However, he at the same time excluded armed groups from the future republican dialogue.

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This is what makes the ceasefire illusory for the experts: the exclusion of the rebellion that officially accepted the ceasefire.

"Our goal is to get rid of the rebellion, we do not dialog with those who take up arms", Slice Albert Yaloké Mokpeme, spokesman for the presidency interviewed by the AFP .

"If the armed groups file the weapons, it is a contradiction to keep them apart from the political dialogue," retorts the member for the opposition Martin Ziguele, former Prime Minister. "We will see what the government will propose but refusing that they enter is to take the risk of calling everything in question," he explains to AFP.

"save time"

"we make peace with his enemies, not with his friends," ROLAND Marchal, from the International Research Center (CERI) of Sciences Po Paris , for whom the truce will not hold if the "Reconciliation" does not integrate armed groups.

Even analysis for Thierry Vercoulon, the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI): The ceasefire "is made to give oneself the right role in the eyes of international partners", one month after a summit in Luanda where the Neighbors of Africa Central, the African Union (AU) and the UN imposed the idea of ​​a ceasefire to finally launch an "inclusive" dialogue.

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The rebels do not say something else: "The true condition for the ceasefire to work is that the president undertakes an inclusive dialogue", warns Serge Bozanga, spokesperson for the CPC, in a Telephone interview with AFP, adding: "Touadéra just seeks to save time and strengthen militarily".

Ability of nuisance

Everything will also depend on the ground hundreds of Russian paramilitaries that lead the counter-offensive to the side of a very poor and poorly trained army. They are accused by France and the UN committing "possible war crimes" and remunerate by juicy mining contracts and "predations".

If they have lived a debation, the rebels also retain significant nuisance capabilities but had to change tactics. They reigned over the majority of the territory ten months ago, now lead guerrillas: stealth attacks and improvised mines.

"The rebels are easily dispersed and have time to reorganize itself," says Roland Marchal. He will continue to "operate" in some territories and to "kill civilians," Redoute Lewis Mudge, the NGO Human Rights Watch.

Especially since the dry season, coming in November, is traditionally conducive to military actions, "said Vircoulon.

Although armed groups no longer represent a threat to power, thanks to the presence of 12,000 blue helmets but especially hundreds of Russian fighters, "rebels can exhaust the existing regime", concludes Roland Marchal.

22/10/2021 09:25:15 - Libreville (AFP) - © 2021 AFP

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