Rival militant groups in the Central African Republic have agreed on an accord that requires them to disarm, raising hopes of finally restoring peace and bringing reconciliation to the troubled nation.
The agreement, signed May 10 in the capital Bangui between armed groups and the nation’s transitional government, aims to help end a conflict that has killed thousands and displaced nearly a million people. It also has the potential to bring accountability to those who committed war crimes during two years of intercommunal fighting.
Violence flared in March 2013 when Seleka rebels seized power, which resulted in increased instability and violence. The anti-balaka, a loose coalition of militias, formed in response, triggering a cycle of violent reprisals which took on sectarian overtones.The violence took a terrible toll on CAR’s civilian population. A transitional government, led by President Catherine Samba-Panza, took office in January 2014 and while there have been fragile security gains, isolated violence continues.
The United States congratulates the people of the C.A.R. on the successful conclusion of the Bangui Forum. Hundreds of Central Africans from across the country and from all walks of life participated in this historic event, and many more, including diaspora and refugee populations, stayed engaged through live media coverage.
We welcome the signature by armed groups and the transitional government of the accord, and we applaud this commitment to peace. By signing this accord, the government and armed groups have demonstrated that they hear the overwhelming majority of Central African voices in favor of a peaceful political transition. We call on the signatories to work without delay and in coordination with international partners to ensure its full implementation.
We further welcome the signature by armed groups of an agreement to halt the recruitment of child soldiers and to release all child soldiers currently in their ranks and children associated with the conflict. The United States calls on all armed groups to follow through on these commitments without delay.
The United States will continue to stand with the people and transitional leadership of the Central African Republic as they advance this vibrant national conversation and translate into action the recommendations of the Bangui Forum for a better future for the country and its people.