Central African Republic: rebel advance prompts peace talks

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Central African Republic: rebel advance prompts peace talks

Central African Republic: rebel advance prompts peace talks
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Government sources in the Central African Republic claim rebels are continuing their advance on the capital Bangui, despite agreeing to peace talks.

The Seleka rebels want long standing president Francois Bozize to step down amid claims he failed to honour a ceasefire deal.

Prominent Seleka rebel, Eric Neris Massi will attend the talks:

“I don’t know what we are going to negotiate in Libreville. Maybe we will expose the heads of states of the Economic Community of Central African States. But we will discuss the transition programme we want to implement following the departure of Francois Bozize.”

Bozize called on neighbouring countries to send soldiers to help stem the rebel advance and South African troops have now secured the presidential palace.

The Seleka rebels took up arms a month ago and have overrun a number of key towns and cities.

The UN claims that both pro-government forces and rebels are using children to fight, transport supplies and for sex.

In the capital Bangui life is becoming ever more difficult:

“The rebels have cut the road so there is no more traffic. The price of smoked meat has gone up a lot. Those who supply us are upset because their is no transport to Bangui. The only road open leads elsewhere,” said one market trader in the capital.

Both sides of the conflict appear reluctant to make concessions the rebels want Bozize out before any peace deal can reached.

The president’s office has flatly rejected any such outcome.

Talks are due to begin in Libreville, Gabon on Tuesday.