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CAR rebels agree to weeklong truce

Jan. 11, 2013 at 11:04 AM

LIBREVILLE, Gabon, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- A spokesman for the rebel Seleka coalition fighting in Central Africa Republic said it agreed in principle to a weeklong truce.

Seleka rebels halted their move toward CAR's capital Bangui but said their campaign was meant to pressure President Francois Bozize to step aside.

Etienne Moufoudzou, a Seleka spokesman, told Bloomberg News on the sidelines of peace talks in Gabon that rebels were ready to temporarily lay down their weapons.

"We accept the principle of a weeklong cease-fire," he said. "The rebels may apply for the post of prime minister in the next government."

Seleka accuses the Bozize government of failing to respect the terms of a 2008 peace deal. Bloomberg reports that rebel leaders say the president may be responsible for war crimes as well.

Bozize toppled the government of former President Ange-Felix Patasse in a 2003 uprising. He served as the top military official in the Patasse administration.

Regional forces and those from France, the former colonial power, have sent troops to CAR to help ensure national security.

This week, the International Committee of the Red Cross said some civilians in the north of the country who were displaced by recent fighting have returned home. Elsewhere, the situation remains difficult, however.

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