Monday, February 20, 2017 8:28 am
The African Union (AU), the UN and three other international organisations, have called for immediate ceasefire by belligerents in the Central African Republic (CAR), voicing deep concern over the security situation the conflict-torn country.
The five organisations, in a joint statement issued by the UN Department of Information, “condemned the acts of violence by armed groups that had exasperated an already alarming humanitarian situation”.
The other three organizations are: the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the Organisation of La Francophonie (IOF) and the European Union (EU).
“Violence perpetrated by the Front populaire pour la Renaissance de Centrafrique and its allies, as well as Mouvement pour l’Unité et la Paix en Centrafrique caused heavy civilian casualties as well as significant population displacement,” they said.
The organisations regretted that the incident was adding to the humanitarian woes in the region.
Demanding that the belligerents cease hostilities immediately, the organisations emphasised that “all attacks against the civilian population, UN and humanitarian personnel may be subject to judicial prosecution, in line with the national legislation and international law”.
They, however, expressed deep appreciation for the “robust action” taken by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the CAR (MINUSCA) to protect civilians and help to put an end to violence in the areas threatened by the belligerents and encouraged the mission to continue its efforts.
The the organisations also welcomed the measures put in place for the operationalisation of the Special Criminal Court.
They underlined that only dialogue, in strict adherence with the constitutional and democratic order, would allow the concerned stakeholders in the country to find the appropriate and sustainable responses to legitimate grievances.
“In this regard, we reiterate the importance of the African Initiative for Peace and Reconciliation led by the AU, ECCAS and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and supported by Angola, the Republic of Congo and Chad,” they added in the joint statement.
They expressed commitment to work together for the success of the Initiative, in support of the efforts of President Faustin-Archange Touadéra aimed at sustainably promoting reconciliation and inclusive governance in line with the conclusions of the Bangui Forum.
The five-partner organisations underscored that those armed groups that engaged in new violent acts ran the risk of excluding themselves from the African Initiative and exposing themselves to additional international sanctions.
Clashes between the mainly Muslim Séléka rebel coalition and anti-Balaka militia, which is mostly Christian, plunged the country of 4.5 million people into civil conflict in 2013.
In spite of the significant progress and successful elections, CAR has remained in the grip of instability and sporadic unrest.