Home | News    Monday 13 March 2006

Centrafrican Bozize accuses ousted president of fomenting unrest

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Mar 12, 2006 (BANGUI) — The office of Central African Republic’s (CAR) president has accused exiled former strongman Ange-Felix Patasse, who was toppled in 2003, of destabilising the country and training rebels in neighbouring Sudan.

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Francois Bozize

"Thanks to money stolen from our country, these people (Patasse and his political party) have set up a training camp on the border of CAR and Sudan with the aim of training rebels to destabilise the country," the presidency said in a statement broadcast on national radio.

Patasse, who lives in exile in Togo, was overthrown in March 2003 by the current head of state, Francois Bozize.

The statement Sunday also claimed that foreign mercenaries had also been recruited and that the camp was commanded by a Chadian.

Until now, the government has blamed insecurity that has raged in the north, prompting thousands of people to flee their homes and the country, on bandits.

In late January, at least 27 people were killed during clashes between the army and "insurgents" in the northern city of Paoua, Patasse’s home town.

Last week, Prime Minister Elie Dote said the trouble had been caused by an "insurrection by some Central Africans trying to seize power and who were pushed back by our armed forces."

Opposition lawmakers blamed the army for the "massacre" in Paoua, which some alleged actually cost the lives of more than 100 people.

In early 2004, Patasse made a plea from Togo for his countrymen to topple the powers responsible for his own overthrow.

"I ask you to rise as one sole man to demand the departure of the fascist, terrorist, anti-nationalist groups who have shamelessly confiscated your legitimate power," Patasse wrote in a statement.

(ST/AFP)

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