Thursday Dec 27, 201202:08 AM GMT
UN chief slams attacks on towns in Central African Republic
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:8AM
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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has strongly condemned the attacks carried out by armed rebels "on several towns" across the Central African Republic (CAR).

The UN chief said on Wednesday that the violent acts "gravely undermine the peace agreements in place" in the African country.

He deeply regretted “the loss of life and population displacement caused by the fighting."

The condemnation came a day after the rebel coalition, known as Seleka, seized the town of Kaga-Bandoro, which is located about 385 kilometers (240 miles) from the CAR capital Bangui.

On Sunday, the rebels also took control of the south-central city of Bambari, located on the Ouaka River, after they launched operations against government forces.

Ban went on to ask the rebels and the government forces to respect the decisions made by the Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC) during a summit in Chad on December 21 in a bid to reach “a peaceful resolution of the dispute."

He also called on the government “to ensure the safety and security of UN personnel and its premises."

On Wednesday, the United Nations ordered its non-essential staff and families of other workers to leave the African country.

Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky said "their contradictory messages and their continued military offensive seem to indicate that they might be intent on taking Bangui."

The decision "will not detract from the ability of the United Nations to continue its support to the peace consolidation and development efforts in the Central African Republic," the UN spokesman added.

On December 19, Chadian troops entered the Central African Republic after the CAR government asked Chad to help repel the rebel offensive, which began on December 10.

The rebels accuse CAR President Francois Bozizé Yangouvonda of not honoring various peace deals signed between 2007 and 2011. They threaten to overthrow the president who seized power in a coup in 2003.

The Central African Republic, with a population of less than five million, has experienced frequent coups and mutinies.

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