CAR leader to impose curfew to stem crime
BANGUI: President Michel Djotodia of the Central African Republic ( CAR) announced that he will shortly impose a curfew on the capital Bangui because of a surge of armed crime in the city.
“I am imminently going to issue a decree to restore the curfew from 10pm until 6am,” Djotodia said yesterday at a meeting of civic leaders in the presidential palace, adding that “during this period, patrols will be stepped up” and anybody carrying weapons at night will if necessary be “disarmed by force”.
The CAR president insisted he was negotiating with Joseph Kony after Washington rubbished claims that the wanted Ugandan militia boss was personally involved in any talks.
Djotodia is in contact with Kony, one of the world’s most elusive war criminals, over the fate of the children and women enslaved by his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), presidency spokesman Guy- Simplice Kodegue said.
Kony has been wanted since 2005 by the International Criminal Court for a raft of crimes against humanity that have earned him a reputation as one of the most brutal rebel leaders in recent history.
The 50- year- old’s health is believed to have deteriorated after years on the run in some of Africa’s most hostile regions but it was not clear if the purported talks were part of a broader surrender deal.
“There are stateless children, women, elderly people” with Kony and his men, Kodegue said.
The group is known for abducting civilians after looting their villages and killing off any resistance, using them as porters and sex slaves.
“All this has led the Central African authorities, first among them the president, to consider a phase of negotiations,” Kodegue said.
Djotodia, whose country has been sliding into chaos since he seized power in a March coup, is himself under increasing pressure from the international community, including the US.
He announced at a political meeting in Bangui on Thursday that he was personally in contact with the elusive Kony, whom he said “wants to come out of the bush”.
But the US, which has spearheaded the hunt since an internet rights campaign went viral last year, quickly moved to cast doubt over Djotodia’s assertion.
US officials said while Djotodia may have been in talks with some LRA-affiliated fighters trying to cut a deal, there was no reason to believe Kony was directly involved in any negotiations.
The UN meanwhile yesterday warned that up to 6 000 children have been enrolled by warring militias in the CAR.
African nations have deployed about 2 500 troops to the country which is due to increase to 4 500 strong, but diplomats and many officials say it cannot cope with the anarchy and that UN peacekeepers may be needed. – Sapa-AP and AFP
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Moroccan teenagers in court over kissing pics
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Activists demonstrate in Pakistani cities
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Doctor who helped find bin Laden charged
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Spain after ex-Chinese leader for genocide
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