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Modest success for disarmament day in Central African Republic

Modest success for disarmament day in Central African Republic
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The prime minister had asked them to hand in their weapons and, amid a worsening cycle of ethnic and religious violence in the Central African Republic, some responded.

Although the collection in the capital Bangui was modest, premier Andre Nzapayeke seemed satisfied with disarmament day as a first step to peace.

“Those who come voluntarily to bring their grenades and ammunition are really engaged in the peace process,” he said.

“They need to be encouraged along with the rest of the population to continue on this path.”

But as civilians handed in weapons found on the streets after fighting, reports said Christian and Muslim militia members themselves were noticeable by their absence.

“People are not really coming with the weapons that you hear going off in Bangui,” said roadworks engineer Erick Wilibiro.

“There are only grenades, old stuff, munitions…We are really wondering if this initiative is going to lead to real disarmament.”

Violence has continued in the country despite the presence of an African Union force and a French peacekeeping mission.