U.N. extends CAR mandate

Jan. 25, 2013 at 11:00 AM

UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- The U.N. Security Council extended a peacekeeping mandate for the Central African Republic for one year due to recent rebel conflict.

The Security Council passed a resolution calling on the Seleka rebel coalition and the government in CAR to honor the terms of a cease-fire agreement brokered Jan. 11 in Gabon.

Weak state authority, ethnic fighting and a long history of political turmoil have left CAR with a scarred legacy. The Seleka rebel campaign was meant to pressure President Francois Bozize to step aside.

The Security Council added that it extended the mandate for a peacekeeping office in CAR for one year while calling on both parties to the conflict to consolidate peace in the country. The cease-fire included power-sharing agreements between the rebel faction and the Bozize administration.

The U.N. Children's Fund estimates that at least 2,500 children were involved in armed conflict in CAR before a major outbreak of violence there in December.

Leila Zerrougui, U.N. special envoy for children and armed conflict, said this week that Seleka factions were conscripting child soldiers despite commitments made in November 2011.

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