Fighters from a disbanded Muslim rebel group in Central African Republic are attacking government officials trying to re-exert control over the country’s north.
The Seleka rebels toppled Central African Republic’s president last year and installed their own leader. Christian militias rose up to fight the rebels, unleashing sectarian violence. A transitional government, with help from French and U.N. forces, is trying to restore stability.
The Christian militia recently declared it was laying down arms. The Seleka rebels are largely confined to their bases, but some are retrenching in the north.
Government spokesman Modibo Bachir Walidou said Wednesday former rebels have attacked officials this week who were taking up their posts, as part of an effort to extend the government’s control throughout the country. Three officials were seriously wounded by gunshots.
Unifying CAR’s Anti-Balaka Becoming Tough Job
Armed men continue breaking into houses and stealing cars in the Central African Republic capital of Bangui, four days after a leader of the armed groups told them to lay down their weapons. Central Africans are asking how much control anyone has over the anti-balaka militias and what role a new political party might play in future peace talks.
The anti-balaka started out as self-defense groups, mainly from Christian ethnic communities, who fought against the largely Muslim Seleka rebel alliance that took over the C.A.R. capital last year.
They are a diverse collection of groups without a strong chain of command, but observers agree that former government minister and chairman of the country’s football federation Patrice Edouard Ngaissona has been a key figure at the center of the network.