Rival militias in Central African Republic agree to disarm for peace

May 11, 2015 00:51

BANGUI - Rival armed groups in Central African Republic agreed on Sunday to a peace accord requiring them to disarm and potentially face justice for war crimes committed during two years of conflict.

The agreement signed between 10 armed groups and the Defense Ministry during a peace forum in the capital, Bangui, aims to draw a line under a conflict that has killed thousands and displaced nearly a million people in the impoverished former French colony.

"On the path towards peace, the step made today is a very important one," said Babacar Gaye, the top UN official in the country.

Violence flared up in March 2013 when mostly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power, sparking reprisals from anti-balaka, or anti-machete, Christian militia, who then drove the bulk of the Muslim population out of the south.

While a transitional government led by Catherine Samba-Panza is now in place and some order has returned, isolated killings continue.

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