UN condemns Central African rebels for attacks

UNITED NATIONS— The UN Security Council on Wednesday condemned Central African Republic rebels who have staged attacks and threatened new hostilities against the government.
Soldiers from Central African Republic’s Seleka rebel group arrive at the airport ahead of planned peace talks with the Central African Republic’s government, Libreville, Gabon, Ja....
Soldiers from Central African Republic’s Seleka rebel group arrive at the airport ahead of planned peace talks with the Central African Republic’s government, Libreville, Gabon, Ja....

UNITED NATIONS— The UN Security Council on Wednesday condemned Central African Republic rebels who have staged attacks and threatened new hostilities against the government.

The 15-member council expressed “strong concern” over mounting new tensions in the giant African nation as President Francois Bozize ordered the release of political prisoners in a bid to head off a showdown with the rebels.

Council members also “condemned the attacks conducted recently by rebels from the Seleka coalition, in particular in Bangassou and the surrounding region, and the threat of a resumption of hostilities,” said a statement.

Seleka launched an offensive on December 10 and came close to reaching the capital Bangui. The rebels accuse the government of failing to keep promises under past agreements but signed a new accord on January 11.

Under the deal, an opposition member, Nicolas Tiangaye, became head of a national unity government that was to carry out reforms before national elections next year. Seleka detained five ministers from the new government on Sunday, including members of the rebel coalition, to back their demands for concessions from the authorities.

Bozizi on Wednesday offered to release political prisoners and end a night-time curfew, but the rebels have said this is not enough.

The Security Council said the new troubles “jeopardize the precarious stability” of Central African Republic, a landlocked nation of 4.4 million people plagued by instability since its independence in 1960. Bozize seized power in a 2003 coup.

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