Home | News    Tuesday 31 October 2006

Central African Republic accuses Sudan of supporting rebel group

Oct 30, 2006 (BANGUI) — The Central African Republic (CAR) accused neighbour Sudan of "barbarous aggression" Monday, after a recently formed rebel group captured the northern city of Birao, near the Sudanese border.

Francois Bozize

"Presidential spokesman Cyriaque Gonda said on national radio that "unidentified assailants" from the western Sudanese region of Darfur had carried out the attack.

"The government and the Centrafrican people ... strongly condemn this barbarous aggression which cannot be justified," he said.

Gonda said Sudan was responsible for "repeated violations" of the border and called on the international community to help restore the "territorial integrity" of CAR by sending UN peacekeepers to Darfur.

CAR president , Francois Bozize, urged president Jacques Chirac on the sidelines of the International Organization of Francophonie summit held in Bucharest, at the end of September to give him logistical assistance to stop Sudan supported Central African rebels who destabilize his regime.

A small rebel group called the Union of Rallied Forces (UFR), which appeared in the north of CAR in 2005, claimed to have taken Birao after "brief fighting".

Headed by Florian Ndjadder-Bedaya, the son of a late general who was close to former president Ange-Felix Patasse, the group said CAR troops either defected or were captured.

Ndjadder-Bedaya announced in December his intention to overthrow CAR’s current head of state, Francois Bozize, who ousted Patasse in 2003.

Birao is over 800 kilometres (500 miles) northeast of Bangui, in an area infested with criminal gangs and rebel groups hostile to the CAR leadership.

Central African Republic has suffered decades of army revolts, coups and rebellions since the nation of 3.6 million gained independence from France in 1960.

President Francois Bozize seized power in another rebel war in 2003 before later winning presidential elections.

(AP/AFP/ST)