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12:08, 18 August 2014 Monday

Seleka declares independent state in northern CAR

Seleka declares independent state in northern CAR

The moves comes despite a late-July agreement between warring militias to end hostilities.



A leader of the predominantly Muslim seleka militia on Sunday declared an independent state in the northeastern region of the Central African Republic (CAR).

"A free, independent secular state has been established in the northeastern region of CAR," Noureddine Adam, the deputy head of the militia, said in a statement.

He added that the new "state" would be based in the Birao region, some 800 kilometers north of CAR capital Bangui, and that it would be led by former CAR president Michel Djotodia, a Muslim.

Adam also announced the creation of an interim government under Djotodia in which he would serve as minister of state for defense and national security.

He said the secession move came in response to what he described as "planned genocide" and "hostage-taking" of Muslims; the destruction of mosques; and the desecration of Quran by Christian militias, including the anti-balaka.

The land-locked country descended into anarchy last year when Seleka ousted then president Francois Bozize, a Christian who had come to power in a 2003 coup, and installed Djotodia as an interim president.

The country was plagued by tit-for-tat sectarian violence between seleka fighters and Christian militiamen.

Anti-Muslim violence surged after Djotodia stepped down in January and was replaced by Catherine Samba-Panza, a Christian who formerly served as mayor of the capital Bangui.

Christians, who account for the majority of the country's population, accuse Muslims of supporting Seleka militants blamed for attacking Christian homes, looting property and carrying out summary executions during their brief reign.

A ceasefire signed by the warring parties in Brazzaville, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, on July 23 has failed to end violence.

President Samba-Panza has recently appointed Mahamat Kamoun, a Muslim who had headed up the office of Djotodia, as prime minister



Related Topics » Seleka | declares | northern CAR |