Rebels in Central African Republic Seek Muslim-Christian States
BANGUI, Central African Republic - A Muslim rebel leader in Central African Republic proclaimed an autonomous state in the country's north Tuesday just days after threatening violence against those voting on a constitutional referendum meant to usher in stability.
The declaration by rebel leader Noureddine Adam comes only two weeks after Pope Francis visited the troubled nation of 4.8 million and called for reconciliation among its rival Muslim and Christian militias, who have been warring since Muslim Seleka rebels overthrew the Christian president in 2013. The declaration calling the new territory the Republic of Logone was signed Monday.
"We believe the time has come to divide Central African Republic for the two communities to find peace," Cmdr. Maouloud Moussa said Tuesday on behalf of Adam, adding the rebels saw no alternatives. "Christians in the northern territory can stay, because we are already family. Other Muslims elsewhere who would like to join us are welcome."
Adam is the nation's former public security minister and a leader in the Seleka rebel movement that overthrew the president.