BANGUI, 22 March 2021 – Armed groups fighting to topple the government of the Central African Republic (CAR) say, ex-president, Francois Bozize, is their new boss.
Bozize has agreed to lead an alliance of six rebel groups known as the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), according to a spokesperson of the CPC cited Monday by the French News Agency (AFP).
The former president has previously denied accusations that he had links to the rebels.
Bozize was disqualified for running for the country’s top job in elections last January because he is accused of crimes against humanity.
The former leader also faces United Nations targeted sanctions and has an international arrest warrant hanging over his head.
The Central African Republic has not known peace ever since Bozize was toppled in a coup in 2013.
Since the presidential elections in December 2020, the CPC coalition of rebels has staged sporadic attacks aimed at seizing the capital, defended by United Nations peacekeepers reinforced during the election period by troops from Russia and additional forces deployed by Rwanda.
The rebels have been blocked on the outskirts of the capital, Bangui, or have been beaten back after laying siege on the city.
The rebels have tried to impose a blockade of the city, including cutting off vital supplies coming into the landlocked country from neighboring Cameroon.
The CPC says they do not recognize the re-election of President Faustin Archange Touadera, who won a second and last term in office last December.
Less than half of the country’s electorate, or an estimated 910,000 people, registered to vote in the elections.
On election day, rebels prevented citizens from voting in territory under their control and then used the fact that they did not vote to claim that the election did not grant legitimacy to the government of President Faustin Archange Touadera.
Hundreds of thousands of people who live in the two-thirds of the country’s territory controlled by the rebels were both unable to register or to vote during the December ballot.