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AFRICA NEWS
Clashes erupt in C. Africa a day after peace deal
by Staff Writers
Bangui, Central African Republic (AFP) June 20, 2017


France, US agree UN draft on anti-jihadist Sahel force
United Nations, United States (AFP) June 20, 2017 - France and the United States have reached agreement on a draft UN resolution that would pave the way for the deployment of a five-nation African military force to fight jihadists in the Sahel region, diplomats said Tuesday.

A vote at the UN Security Council could take place as early as Wednesday on the draft resolution that welcomes the deployment but does not give it full UN authorization, according to the agreed text seen by AFP.

Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger -- which make up the G5 -- agreed in March to set up a special counter-terrorism operation of 5,000 troops for the Sahel region.

France had requested that the Security Council authorize the force in a first draft text circulated two weeks ago that would have given the G5 troops a UN mandate to "use all necessary means" to combat terrorism, drug trafficking and people smuggling.

The United States however had opposed UN authorization for the force, arguing that it was not legally necessary and that the mandate was too broad and lacking in precision.

The new draft resolution "welcomes the deployment" of the G5 force "with a view to restoring peace and security in the Sahel region" and drops a provision that invoked chapter 7 of the UN charter, which authorizes the use of force.

The United States had argued that a simple statement welcoming the regional force would have been sufficient, but France insisted that a full resolution was needed in line with a request from the African Union.

France carried out a military intervention in Mali in 2013 to drive out jihadist groups, some of which were linked to Al-Qaeda, which had seized key cities in the country's north.

Although the Islamists have been largely ousted from the north, jihadist groups continue to mount attacks on civilians and UN forces in violence that has engulfed parts of central Mali.

Fighting broke out Tuesday in the Central African Republic, with at least one person killed and scores wounded, dashing hopes for stability the day after the signing of a ceasefire deal.

"Intense shooting started at 0600. At 0930, we already had 35 wounded in hospital, mainly injuries from bullets," Mumuza Muhindo Musubaho, project coordinator for Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in the CAR town of Bria, said in a statement.

The violence erupted just a day after the CAR government and rebel groups agreed to an immediate ceasefire, a deal brokered by the Catholic community Sant'Egidio in five days of negotiations in Rome.

Under the agreement, armed groups were granted political representation in exchange for an end to attacks and blockades.

"We counted at least one dead and 20 wounded among our troops, who were taken care of by the NGOs", said Djamil Babanani, spokesman for the Popular Front for the Rebirth of the Central African Republic (FPRC), an armed rebel group formerly belonging to the Muslim Seleka coalition, which had signed Monday's peace accord.

"We signed the agreement, but we have to defend ourselves, we can't allow an attack to happen without reacting," added Babanani.

"People are at home since (early Tuesday morning), shooting was still going on this morning, there is no activity going on today," said Father Gildas of the Catholic mission Saint-Louis de Bria, by telephone. .

Sporadic fighting has continued since Saturday between Christian 'anti-balaka' militias and the FPRC after its leader Hamad Issa was killed in the town, according to several sources.

"We know that much remains to be done. It is vital that the ceasefire agreed to by the parties is carried out immediately," said UN special representative on CAR, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga.

Battling between armed groups in the Bria area from May 15 to 18 left five people dead, 29 wounded and more than 40,000 others displaced, according to the UN.

Clashesin Bria, Alindao, Bangassou and Mobaye, east of the capital Bangui, resulted in a total of around 300 dead and 200 wounded, according to the UN's humanitarian coordination agency OCHA.

AFRICA NEWS
C. Africa govt inks peace deal with rebel groups
Bangui, Central African Republic (AFP) June 19, 2017
The Central African Republic's government on Monday signed an "immediate ceasefire" deal with rebel groups at a meeting in Rome aimed at ending violence in the strife-torn country. The accord, negotiated over five days, was hailed as a precious chance to stabilise one of the world's most volatile and poorest countries. Under it, armed groups will be given representation in the political ... read more

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