Tumult Renewed in Central African Republic, Child Soldiers Recruited

Just when it looked like things couldn’t get any worse in central Africa, especially given all of the fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo, on December 10 the Seleka militia (a combined force of four rebel groups) marched toward Central Africa Republic’s capital, Bangui, to oppose CAR’s current president, President Francois Bozizé. The Seleka militia claims Bozizé reneged on his promise of peace talks made in 2008 and accused him of corruption.

During Seleka’s march toward Bangui, Bozizé fired his son from his Defense Minister post and called upon the Seleka rebels to halt their advance to the capital requesting the opportunity to serve out his presidency. On Wednesday, the rebels halted their advance to Bangui. The United Nations have called on both parties – the government as well as the rebels – to hold peace talks.

As of today the rebel progression from the north toward Bangui is still halted. In the meantime, Uganda said it is willing to send troops to help the CAR government. Tragically, UNICEF has requested that rebel groups cease recruiting children into their ranks as soldiers.

“A number of rebel groups and various pro-government militias have become more active in recent weeks in the capital city of Bangui and across the country,” said the UNICEF Representative for CAR, Souleymane Diabate. “Reliable sources have informed us that children are newly being recruited among their ranks. These reports are of serious concern.”

Read more information on the Central African Republic conflict visit IRINNews.com.

Photo: Child soldiers (file photo). Photo: Gabriel Galwak/IRIN via UN.org

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