Brand new C.Africa government already under fire

AFP
French Sangaris troops patrol aboard a military vehicule on August 16, 2014 in a street of Bangui, the Central African capital
French Sangaris troops patrol aboard a military vehicule on August 16, 2014 in a street of Bangui, the Central African capital (AFP Photo/Pacome Pabandji)

Bangui (Central African Republic) (AFP) - A senior member of the Central African Republic's Seleka rebel movement has criticised the country's new government just a day after it was unveiled, in a potential blow for peace.

The new government unveiled Friday represents a fresh attempt to put an end to more than a year of ethnic and religious bloodshed that has killed thousands and forced around a million from their homes.

It includes representatives from rival armed groups that have been fighting each other, in a bid to bring them back into the mainstream -- three from the mainly Muslim Seleka group and two from the majority-Christian 'anti-balaka' militias.

But on Saturday, the third-in-command of Seleka -- which ousted president Francois Bozize last year, precipitating the chaos currently gripping the country -- slammed the line-up.

Seleka "did not appoint anyone to represent it in the new government formed by Prime Minister Mahamat Kamoun," Mohamed Moussa Dhaffane said.

"Those who entered the current government acted on their own behalf, but not in Seleka's name."

When it ousted Bozize last year, Seleka placed one of its leaders, Michel Djotodia, in power.

He later announced Seleka had been disbanded but was forced to step down in January for failing to halt atrocities committed by rogue ex-rebels, which led to the emergence of the "anti-balaka" vigilante forces bent on vengeance against Muslims.

The Seleka group nevertheless continued to exist but was plagued by in-fighting, and in July, Djotodia was renamed head of the movement.

Later in the month, a ceasefire pact was signed between armed groups under international pressure, and a new, all-inclusive government was promised to try and keep all sides content.

But Mohamed Moussa Dhaffane said Saturday his opinion had not been taken into account when forming the new government.

The Seleka group "reserves the right to reconsider commitments made" in July," he added.

The July ceasefire has so far failed to end bloodshed.

In the latest fighting, at least eight people were killed when armed groups clashed on Wednesday and Thursday in the southeastern region of Boda, the African peacekeeping force MISCA said.