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CAR rebels demand partition in Brazzaville talks

By on July 23, 2014

Seleka rebels have demanded that Central African Republic be partitioned into a Muslim north and a Christian south, a surprise move at talks aimed at halting religious violence, sources at the meeting said on Tuesday.

Seleka’s head of delegation to the three-day forum in Brazzaville, General Mohamed Moussa Dhaffane, told a session it was time to formalise the split after tens of thousands of Muslims had fled the south.

The talks, bringing together 169 delegates from the transitional government, civil society and armed groups, are aimed at reaching a ceasefire and disarmament of the mostly Muslim Seleka rebels and ‘anti-balaka’ Christian militia.

Thousands have been killed and more than a million forced from their homes by months of sectarian violence in the country which erupted after Seleka fighters seized power in the majority Christian country in March 2013.

The Christian militias stepped up revenge attacks on Muslims, driving the rebels along with Muslim civilians northwards, creating a de facto partition.

Abakar Sabone, a Muslim former minister and leader of the MLCJ movement who was in the meeting, said the Seleka were demanding as a precondition to continue talks that the country should be split in two.

The partition calls came as a surprise to mediators including Republic of Congo’s President Denis Sassou N’Guesso, who was chairing the session.

By late afternoon on Tuesday, the Seleka delegation had not shown up at the convention centre where the talks were taking place.

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