Central African Republic Ready to Talk Peace with Rebels

In the Central African Republic, rebels have pressured president Francois Bozize into forming an alliance. The Seleka rebel alliance had pushed their way towards Bangui, the country’s capital city, having gained control of a large portion of the state. Reports on Saturday placed the rebel forces in a town less than 100 miles outside of Bangui.

“The rebels have entered Sibut,” an anonymous source told the AFP. “There was no fighting,” The source reported that the C.A.R military forces had retreated to Madara, a town about 50 miles away from Bangui.

Bozize met with African Union Chairman Thomas Yayi Boni before announcing his intention leave office at the end of term in 2016. Boni and the African Union are expected to initiate peace talks between the C.A.R government and Seleka, which is comprised of three armed groups.

“I am ready to form a government of national unity with Seleka to run the country together, because I am a democrat,” Bozize said during a news conference following the meeting with Boni, according to Reuters.

Seleka believes that Bozize failed to honor a 2007 agreement that would have paid the armed groups to stop fighting. The alliance began its rebellion three weeks ago, and has already become a threat against the standing government. Both the United States and United Nations evacuated staff last week due to the possibility of violence.

Bozize has served as the country’s leader since 2003, when he led a coup of previous leader Ange-Félix Patassé. Seleka spokesman Eric Massi spoke to France 24 television on Sunday, suggesting that the rebels were not fighting for a coalition government or control of the country.

“I take note of his proposals. We need to meet to study them,” Massi said. “Know that Seleka’s aim today is not to enter into a government but to allow the people of Central African Republic to be able to drive the country towards development and self-fulfillment,” he said.

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