Central African Republic rebels threaten to resume fighting

BANGUI Mon Feb 25, 2013 3:37pm EST

Central African president Francois Bozize speaks during a news conference at the presidential palace in Bangui January 8, 2013. REUTERS/Luc Gnago

Central African president Francois Bozize speaks during a news conference at the presidential palace in Bangui January 8, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Luc Gnago

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BANGUI (Reuters) - Rebels in Central African Republic threatened on Monday to resume fighting, accusing President Francois Bozize of failing to honor a peace deal signed last month.

Bozize agreed in mid-January to form a national unity government to end an insurgency which swept to within striking distance of Bangui, the capital of the mineral-rich former French colony.

Opposition figures and members of the rebel Seleka coalition did take up key posts in that government in February - but the insurgents said they were still waiting for the president to free prisoners and meet other demands.

"We are waiting for Bozize to respect and implement the main points ... otherwise we will be forced to take up arms again," Nouredine Adam, a senior member of Seleka told Reuters.

No one was immediately available to comment from the government.

Seleka, a grouping of five rebel movements, launched its insurgency in early December, accusing Bozize of reneging on an earlier peace deal.

As a condition of this year's agreement, it demanded the release of political prisoners and the withdrawal of most of the foreign forces that were brought to reinforce the army during the uprising.

Adam said in a separate statement neither of those conditions had been met. He also accused Bozize of acquiring weapons.

Seleka rebels refused on Sunday to start disarming or pull out of positions in towns and villages on Sunday. Adam said Seleka had not been consulted over the proposed withdrawal.

(Reporting By Paul-Marin Ngoupana; Writing by John Irish; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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