Representatives of several African countries in the Great Lakes region, gathered Friday in Luanda for a mini-summit on the situation in the Central African Republic, called on the rebels who are trying to overthrow President Touadéra’s regime to cease fire.
“Heads of State and Government call on rebel forces for a unilateral and immediate ceasefire,” Angolan Foreign Minister Téte António said at the conclusion of a meeting of the International Conference on the region of the Great Lakes (ICGLR) in Luanda.
Present at the top, Faustin Archange Touadéra was officially re-elected, with a low turnout, for a second term at the head of the Central African Republic on January 18.
The presidential and legislative elections were held at the end of December in a country plagued since 2013 by a civil war, very deadly until 2018 and revived by the announcement of a rebel offensive to prevent these polls.
Several powerful armed groups have allied themselves into the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) and have vowed to march on the capital Bangui.
Mainly under rebel control, the Central African Republic this week declared a state of emergency for 15 days.
“We want a Great Lakes region without armed conflict, without death, or forced displacement of inhabitants,” said African officials at the end of the mini-summit which notably brought together Congolese President Denis Sassou-Nguesso and Rwandan Paul Kagame.
Violence in the Central African Republic forced more than 200,000 people in less than two months to flee their homes, according to the UN.
The armed groups have so far come up against forces far superior in number and heavily equipped: some 12,000 peacekeepers from the peacekeeping force of the UN Mission in the Central African Republic (Minusca), but also hundreds of soldiers. Rwandans and Russian paramilitaries dispatched at the end of December to the rescue of Mr. Touadéra and a destitute army.
Under the influence of an embargo on heavy weapons, the Central African Republic recently pleaded for the lifting of this measure to fight against armed groups.
In Luanda, the African heads of state present declared that they would support the Central African Republic’s request to the UN Security Council.