News / Africa

    Diplomats Make Last Ditch Effort to Talk With CAR Rebels

    People stand under the poster of Central Africa Republic's President Francois Bozize in Bangui on December 28, 2012People stand under the poster of Central Africa Republic's President Francois Bozize in Bangui on December 28, 2012
    x
    People stand under the poster of Central Africa Republic's President Francois Bozize in Bangui on December 28, 2012
    People stand under the poster of Central Africa Republic's President Francois Bozize in Bangui on December 28, 2012
    Anne Look
    Central African countries are working Friday to open talks between the government of the Central African Republic (CAR) and the rebel coalition that has seized 10 key towns in the north in the past three weeks. The rebels are threatening to march on the capital, Bangui, and topple the government if the president does not negotiate.

    The Seleka Coalition
     
    -Made up of several rebel factions
    -Aims to remove President Francois Bozize
    -Accuses Bozize of failing to honor cease-fire
    -Seized 10 towns in December
    The rebel group, known as Seleka, began its lightning offensive in the north on December 10 and is now within 300 kilometers of the capital, Bangui.

    All that remains between the rebels and the capital are a few hundred Chadian forces and a regional peacekeeping force, called FOMAC, from the Economic Community of Central African States, which said Thursday that it is sending in reinforcements.

    The United States has temporarily closed its embassy in Bangui and evacuated its ambassador and staff due to security concerns.

    Analysts say the government forces are outmatched and have not put up much of a fight.

    Regional diplomats are meeting in Bangui Friday to try and pave the way for peace talks that will ultimately be held in Gabon's capital, Libreville, though no date has been announced. The rebels say they have halted their advance to wait for negotiations, however they have broken similar promises in the past week.

    Central African Republic President Francois Bozize, June 30, 2011.Central African Republic President Francois Bozize, June 30, 2011.
    x
    Central African Republic President Francois Bozize, June 30, 2011.
    Central African Republic President Francois Bozize, June 30, 2011.
    President Francois Bozize says he will negotiate but only if the rebels withdraw from the captured territory. The rebels say they will not withdraw before negotiations.

    Bozize spoke publicly Thursday for the first time since the start of the rebellion.

    The president called on France and the United States to help fight off the rebels so that talks can take place in Libreville. He accused the rebels of plotting with the political opposition against the government.

    Analysts say the rebels appear to be well-armed, and the question of who is financing them remains unanswered.

    France, which has about 200 soldiers in Bangui, says that it will not intervene, and that its forces are there to protect French interests.

    Lydie Boka, head of the Paris-based risk analysis firm Strategico, said France and longtime ally Chad appear to have stepped back from Bozize, and his government is in real danger.

    Boka says negotiations remain possible. She says for the president, the best case scenario could be being forced to enlarge his government, while the worst case could be a forced resignation.

    Seleka unites fighters from as many as four rebel groups in the north. Many of them were involved in a four-year conflict that officially ended with peace accords in 2007, though fighting has repeatedly flared up in the north since 2009.

    Seleka says the government must fully implement 2007 and 2011 peace accords that included paying rebel fighters to disarm and integrating them into the army.  

    Boka said the rebels have, for now, found a common objective but are far from unified.

    She says in September of last year, two of the groups in the coalition — the UFDR and the CJPJ — fought a deadly battle in the diamond mining town of Bria over control of that industry. These groups, she says, are hardly dear friends or people who are going to bring a miracle solution to the immense problems of the country.

    The U.N. Security Council has condemned the rebel attacks in the north.

    Bozize, himself a former army chief, first came to power in 2003 after overthrowing the previous government.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora