The United States of America today has slammed the illegitimate seizure of power by force by the Seleka rebel alliance of the Central African Republic.
In a press conference in Washington DC, Department of State Spokesperson Victoria Nuland says the US government strongly condemns the rebel takeover of CAR, Michel Djotodia’s self-appointment as president, and his suspension of the constitution and National Assembly.
Reports say Michel Djotodia, a former civil servant turned rebel leader, seized power last week and was elected the new president of the Central African Republic.
US Condemns Seleka’s Unlawful Designation As Head of State
Ms. Nuland said the US condemns Seleka’s unlawful designation of a head of state and also any other unilateral decisions involving the future governance of the country.
She notes the only legitimate government in the Central African Republic is the government of national unity led by Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye.
She emphasizes that any decisions on the future governance of the country must be taken in an inclusive and transparent manner, consistent with the Libreville Agreement which was approved by all sides, overseen by the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and recognized by the African Union.
“We urge the country’s leadership to quickly establish an open and legitimate process leading to presidential elections and the reestablishment of a constitutional government.” – Ms. Nuland
She adds the African Union has already suspended the Central African Republic’s membership, and the country risks further alienation from the international community and regional partners.
The US government also urges the regional leaders from ECCAS to vigorously continue their efforts to secure peace and stability in the CAR in furtherance of the Libreville Agreement.
US Concerned By Security And Humanitarian Situation
Ms. Nuland says the United States remains deeply concerned about the serious deterioration in the security situation in the Central African Republic.
In addition, the US is concerned about the humanitarian situation both in Bangui and the interior of the CAR.
Widespread looting of humanitarian organizations and hospitals has been reported, depriving civilians of urgently needed assistance.
All parties must work to ensure the safety of the civilian population and allow unhindered humanitarian access, she added.
Seleka Rebels Overrun Central African Capital
Notorious rebel coalition ‘Seleka’ overran the capital of Central African Republic, prompting the country’s president to flee to Cameroon.
Reports say 13 CAR soldiers were killed in fighting with rebels.
Ousted President Francois Bozize reportedly sought refuge in Cameroon earlier this week.
The African Union (AU) responded to the turmoil by imposing a travel ban and asset freeze on seven leaders of the Seleka rebel coalition.
AU also emphasizes that Seleka’s advance had undermined the country’s effort to find a solution to the crisis engulfing the country.
AU also urges African states to deny “any sanctuary and cooperation” to the rebel leaders.
Seleka Rebels Gain Momentum
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 say Seleka rebels have taken several key towns and cities, including the diamond centre of Bria.
The US State Department ordered its diplomatic team to evacuate as rebels continue to advance and violence may escalate.
The U.S. ambassador and 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 the government lost the town of Kaga Bandoro to northern rebels.
The Seleka rebel coalition has reportedly gained momentum in its advances and attacks in the latter part of this month.