Citizens of Bangui, the capital city of the Central African Republic, have expressed concern over the Seleka rebel group advancing towards them. In a report by Fides News Agency, local sources have described the tension in the area.
“At the moment the situation is calm in the city, but one lives in the anxiety of uncertainty after the rebels took the strategic center of Sibut (160 km from Bangui),” an unknown source told Fides Agency from Bangui. A curfew was declared in the area.
The Countries of Central Africa have mobilized the Multinational Force of Central Africa (FOMAC) and urged for negotiations between government and rebel forces which are expected to be held in Gabon. The commander of the FOMAC has issued an ultimatum to the leadership of Seleka to prevent any advance on Bangui. The rebels, on their behalf, have announced that they have stopped military operations while expressing their openness to dialogue.
The Church has launched several appeals for peace so that the path of negotiation and not a military one prevail. “Wisdom leads us to moderation and dialogue. Whatever the misunderstanding, a compromise is always possible through dialogue,” Bishop Nestor Désiré Nongo Aziagbia Bossangoa wrote in his New Year message. The prelate also stated that the poor are the first victims of civil wars that have bloodied the history of Central Africa and denounced violence against civilians in areas of his diocese (Kabo and Batangafo) captured by the rebels.
Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga of Bangui has also launched an appeal for dialogue. In an interview with France-Presse, Archbishop Nzapalainga said he was confident because he sees “messages of hope”.