The United States is concerned about deteriorating security in war-torn Central African Republic (CAR).
In a press statement in Washington DC, US Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland urges CAR government and Seleka coalition to implement January’s ceasefire deal.
Earlier this year, the rebel Seleka coalition and President Francois Bozize’s government signed a ceasefire agreement in Gabon to end the grave insurgency sweeping across the country.
“We call on President Bozize and the leadership of the Seleka alliance to cease hostilities immediately, and implement the provisions of the Libreville Agreement.” – Ms. Nuland
US Urges parties to end hostilities
According to Ms. Nuland, the Economic Community of Central African States (CEAAC) should rapidly convene the mediation committee called for by the Libreville Agreement in order to support the transitional government and help restore national peace and security.
She says the Government of National Unity is the single, representative entity agreed to by all the parties in the Libreville Agreement to govern the country in this critical transitional period.
“Parties should therefore act within this political framework and refrain from acts that undermine it.” – Ms. Nuland
The US government strongly urges regional leadership and the international community to adhere to the Libreville Agreement and provide their full support to Prime Minister Tiangaye and his government.
In addition, the United States urgently calls on the Seleka leadership and on the CAR government to ensure that their forces respect the human rights of the Central African people.
US concerned with worsening humanitarian situation
Ms. Nuland says the US government is very concerned by the worsening humanitarian situation in CAR and credible, widespread reports of human rights abuses by both national security forces and Seleka fighters.
She underscores that perpetrators of such abuses must be held accountable.
Seleka rebels gain momentum in CAR
In December 2012, due to concerns about the security of US personnel, the US State Department temporarily suspended its operations in the Central African Republic.
Reports says Seleka rebels have taken several key towns and cities, including the diamond centre of Bria.
US States Department ordered its diplomatic team to evacuate as rebels continue to advance and violence may escalate.
U.S. ambassador and its diplomatic staff have reportedly flown out of Bangui and headed to Kenya.
US Ambassador Wohlers and his diplomatic team left Bangui along with several private U.S. citizens.
The United States has encouraged all parties in the Central African Republic to participate in the dialogue to be held under the auspices of the Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC) to develop a comprehensive agreement that will offer a new vision of peace and security for the country.
Earlier in December 2012, towns were attacked by the ‘Seleka’ coalition of armed groups and CAR lost the town of Kaga Bandoro to northern rebels.
The Seleka rebel coalition has reportedly gained momentum in its advances and attacks.
In addition, the UN has reported that another extremist group called Lord’s Resistance Army has also increased its attack in central Africa, leading to the displacement of thousands of people.
Attacks have taken place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Central African Republic (CAR) and South Sudan.
According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) 13 attacks in the DRC were recorded which resulted in two killings and 13 abductions, and the displacement of 1,230 people mostly from the Dungu territory in the country’s north-east.
In CAR, LRA attacks have resumed after a lull since April 2011 with 11 attacks recorded this year.
In addition, the LRA has also conducted attacks in South Sudan, which last year led to 7,382 people fleeing their homes.
LRA-related violence is seriously hampering humanitarian work in the province. According to UN data some 2,000 people have been killed and 2,500 abducted, including 892 children, in attacks against civilians in villages and towns across the Orientale province since December 2007.
The LRA was formed in the 1980s in Uganda and for over 15 years its attacks were mainly directed against Ugandan civilians and security forces, which in 2002 dislodged the rebels.