Facing rebels, Central African Republic's president consolidates power
Under a rebel insurgency, President Francois Bozize of Central African Republic took full control of the military, dismissing his son as acting defense minister. Other African nations have sent hundreds of soldiers to Central African Republic to help fight the rebels.
Bangui, Central African Republic
Facing an insurgency by a new rebel coalition, the president of Central African Republic consolidated military power under his control Thursday after dismissing his own son as acting defense minister along with his army chief of staff.Skip to next paragraph
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President Francois Bozize said in a decree read on state radio late Wednesday that he was taking over the position held by his son, Jean Francis Bozize as neighboring countries sent troops to help.
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Rebel spokesman Col. Djouma Narkoyo reiterated Thursday that they were holding their position at the transportation hub of Sibut pending negotiations in Gabon. They have apparently made no further advance toward the capital since taking the town on Dec. 29.
"Our position today is that we respect the decision of the Economic Community of Central African States," he said by satellite phone. "That's why we are staying in Sibut and are not advancing."
In New York, France's U.N. Ambassador Gerard Araud said there will be a meeting in Libreville, Gabon on Jan. 8 to promote a political solution to the crisis, mediated by President Denis Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of Congo.
"The goal is to have a political agreement in Libreville, a national unity government ... and eventually a peaceful settlement," he told reporters after a closed-door briefing to the U.N. Security Council Thursday on the latest developments in the Central African Republic by U.N. political chief Jeffrey Feltman.
Araud said the African Union and regional groups are in the lead and have been very active, and the Security Council is supporting them and will likely issue a press statement Friday. He said France planned to circulate the text to the 14 other council members on Thursday evening.
"They have stopped the rebels, and they have ideas about a national unity government," Araud said of the AU and regional groups. "So everything will be discussed in the meeting in Libreville on the 8th, and after the meeting in Libreville we'll see whether the U.N. has to do something."