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Cease-fire agreement reached by warring Central African Republic groups

The embattled Central African Republic showed signs of hope on Wednesday as representatives from the warring Muslim-backed Séléka rebel group and anti-Balaka Christian militia signed a "Cessation of Hostilities Agreement."
By JC Finley Follow @JC_Finley Contact the Author   |   July 24, 2014 at 4:37 PM

BANGUI, Central African Republic, July 24 (UPI) -- Warring factions in the Central African Republic signed a "Cessation of Hostilities Agreement" on Wednesday.

The cease-fire agreement was signed by representatives of the Muslim-backed Séléka rebel group and anti-Balaka Christian militia in neighboring Republic of the Congo.

Violence broke out in March 2013 when the Séléka group took control of the capital, Bangui, and removed Christian President François Bozizé.

Mohamed Moussa Dhaffane, who led the Séléka delegation at the peace talks, hailed the agreement as a step toward peace. "We have signed this ceasefire today in front of everyone. Our commitment is firm and irreversible."

Anti-Balaka delegation leader Patrick Edouard Ngaissona vowed that those who violated the cease-fire would face arrest.

And yet, hours into the cease-fire, two ex-Séléka soldiers were shot by suspected anti-Balaka fighters in the embattled town of Bambari.

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of State encouraged "all parties to fully implement the terms of the agreement and to move quickly to hold and conclude further talks, to be held in the Central African Republic, on a political way forward."

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