CAR: IRIN News Briefs [19991125]

CAR: IRIN News Briefs [19991125]

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: IRIN News Briefs, Thursday 25 November


RDC members killed in Kembe Opposition rows over government posts "Limited success" in army restructuring UN representative reassigned to Sierra Leone

RDC members killed in Kembe

Seven members of former president Andre Kolingba's opposition Rassemblement democratique centrafricain (RDC) party were killed last week by unidentified armed men in the eastern city of Kembe, some 450 km from Bangui, diplomatic and media sources said. Those killed included an army lieutenant, the head of the local gendarmerie and a vice-president of the RDC youth movement, but the motive for the killings remained unclear. The bodies were dumped in neighbouring towns and villages, one source told IRIN. "Troops are being sent in Kembe and Dimbi today to protect the civilians from this new wave of acts of banditry," Defence Minister Jean-Jacques Demafouth said on state radio on Monday.

Opposition rows over government posts

Meanwhile, divisions have appeared in some opposition parties over the issue of whether to join the new government of President Ange-Felix Patasse, media sources said. The opposition Parti de l'unite nationale (PUN) had decided on 13 November to suspend its third vice-president, Jean-Bruno Vickos, after he was appointed Patasse's minister of telecommunications and new technologies. Vickos' decision to join the government was "a serious violation of the party's principles", a PUN statement said. A group of "dissidents" within the Front patriotique pour le progres (FPP) of Abel Goumba had called for Goumba's replacement because of his decision not to have a member of the party join Patasse's government, the sources added.

"Limited success" in army restructuring

The CAR government now seemed willing to start the stalled armed forces restructuring process, but unfortunately at a time when the mandate of the UN Mission in the CAR (MINURCA) was coming to an end, UN Special Representative Oluyemi Adeniji said on Tuesday. At a New York press conference, Adeniji said MINURCA, whose mandate expires in mid-February, had had "limited success" in supporting demobilisation and civilian reintegration efforts, as well as in the training of fresh recruits for the armed forces. Because of the complexity and sensitive nature of the tasks, the government had been reluctant to begin until the presidential elections were completed, he said. The government was now "in the process of consolidating itself" in the capital following September's election, Adeniji added.

UN representative reassigned to Sierra Leone

The UN secretariat in cooperation with the World Bank was preparing a conference to mobilise the required resources for the demobilisation and army restructuring programme after MINURCA's departure, the UN Special Representative said. Meanwhile, a UN political office would "hopefully" be installed in Bangui as soon as MINURCA's mandate expired to follow up UN efforts in the country, Adeniji said. Those efforts would include the army restructuring programme as well as human rights observation. Adeniji, who was recently appointed as the new UN Special Representative for Sierra Leone, said he was now between the two assignments.


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Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

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