Central African Leaders Sign Ceasefire Deal in Nairobi


Central African Leaders Sign Ceasefire Deal in Nairobi

Two agreements; Nairobi Agreement on Ceasefire and Cessation of Hostilities between Ex-Seleka and Anti-Balaka, and the Nairobi Engagement Declaration Adherence, were signed at State House Nairobi in a bid to stop hostilities between the warring factions.

President Uhuru Kenyatta hosted the signing of the concordat of the agreement between Anti-Balaka led by Joachim Kokate and Ex-Seleka led by former President Michel Djotodia.

President Kenyatta urged the stakeholders to adhere to the agreements and avoid being derailed from their objectives by outside forces.

"There will be many who will try to bring divisions amongst you for their personal benefit. Your principal interest should be the wellbeing of the Central Africa Republic citizens" he said.

The agreements aim to end years of fighting involving mostly Muslim Seleka and Christian Anti-Balaka coalition groups, as well as government forces.

Seleka forces captured much of the country after the then President Francois Bozize fled the country in early 2013 amid allegations of crimes against humanity.

 

Use of child soldiers and ethnic cleansing

Djotodia, the then Seleka leader, declared himself president and was recognised as the head of the transitional government, only to step down in January 2014 as fighting between Seleka and Anti-Balaka forces intensified.

Both sides have been accused of mass atrocities against civilians, as UN and international aid groups documented the use of child soldiers and ethnic cleansing in certain areas.

Catherine Samba Panza was elected to serve as president  of the deeply-divided country and the head of the transitional government in January 2014, but the rebel groups have continued fighting ever since, with violence against the Muslim minority especially on the rise. 

It remains unclear what effects Wednesday's agreement will have in CAR, as both group leaders have said before that rebel fighters on the ground cannot be controlled.

Previous agreements signed between other rebel leaders, such as those last July in Brazzaville, Congo, have also been rejected by those on the ground due to the impression that it was not fully inclusive nor representative of the groups fighting in CAR.

However, it remains to be seen if the involvement of Kokate and Djotodia in the most recent talks will lead to a different outcome.

"There will be many who will try to bring divisions among you for their personal benefit," President Kenyatta warned the two leaders, urging them to remain committed to the agreement.

There will be a second round of talks between the two leaders in Nairobi, but no timeframe has been given.

 

By Tom Omulo

 

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