A rebel group in Central African Republic said it will not disarm under a government guns-for-money plan seen as key to April elections because it does not like the government’s envoy.
“We can not accept payment from a civilian and certainly not from a representative of a government that doesn’t listen to us,” said Colonel Maradas Lakoue, a regional commander of the APRD rebel group.
“Even less likely would we disarm for him.”
The government sent presidential adviser Dieudonne Stanislas Mbangot to begin disbursement of 13 444,000 CFA to each rebel zone.
The APRD rebels want the government to give the lump sum to their own representative to ensure that it is fairly divided among the fighters, and they fear Mbangot will short-change them if they don’t have oversight of the process.
Failure of the disarmament scheme could stymie elections by hindering preparations in the north the most populated part of the country and still under heavy rebel influence.
Opposition groups in the country, one of the poorest in the world, have already pulled out of preparations for the April poll fearing President Francois Bozize will rig the result.
CAR is rich in gold, diamonds and uranium but pockets of rebellion, chronic instability and lack of infrastructure have put off serious investment in the country.
Pic: APRD rebels