Home | News    Wednesday 19 April 2006

Central Africa fires its ambassador to Sudan

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April 18, 2006 (BANGUI) — The president of the Central African Republic (CAR) has fired his ambassador to Sudan, suspecting him of supporting rebels involved in an allegedly Sudan-backed coup attempt in neighbouring Chad, national radio reported here Tuesday.

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Francois Bozize

President Francois Bozize also suspects the ambassador, Pierre-Benjamin N’gregaye, of loyalty to deposed CAR president Ange-Felix Patasse who Bangui accuses of supporting rebels involved in recent raids in the northeast of CAR.

"Certain (diplomatic) heads of mission appointed by Patasse display loyalty to him," CAR Foreign Minister Jean-Paul Ngoupande said, adding that there was "still contact" between Patasse and N’gregaye.

Relations between diplomats and Patasse were "not correct" given the current circumstances, he said.

He added that N’gregaye and other allies of Patasse were linked to an attempted rebellion last week in Chad by the United Front for Change (FUC).

During the uprising, some 400 people were killed in fighting around the Chadian capital N’Djamena and a further 150 in clashes near the Sudanese border.

Chad broke off diplomatic relations with Sudan following the coup attempt. It blames Sudan for supporting the FUC rebels, and on Monday accused it of forming a new rebel army to attack Chad.

The day after the violence in Chad, CAR announced the closure of its borders with Sudan aimed at preventing attacks on Chad from Sudanese territory.

Chadian rebels have twice entered CAR territory near Birao in the far northeast of the country near the Sudanese border, on their way to Chad, according to military sources.

Bozize maintains close relations with Deby, who supported him in his efforts to gain power in 2003. Patasse has been in exile in Togo since a rebellion led by Bozize overthrew him in March that year.

(ST)

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