Central African Republic militias agree to disarmament deal

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By Sebastien Lamba

BANGUI  – Rival armed groups in Central African Republic agreed on Sunday to a peace accord requiring them to disarm and potentially face justice for war crimes committed during two years of conflict.

The agreement signed between 10 armed groups and the Ministry during a peace forum in the capital, Bangui, aims to draw a line a conflict that has killed thousands and nearly a million in the impoverished former colon.

“On the path towards peace, the step made today is a very important one,” said Babacar Gaye, the top U.N. official in the country.

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Violence flared up in March 2013 when mostly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power, sparking reprisals from anti-balaka, or anti-machete, Christian militia, who then drove the bulk of the Muslim of the south.

While a transitional led by Catherine Samba-Panza is in place and some order has returned, isolated killings continue.

“The fighters of all the armed groups accept and commit to putting a definitive end to the armed conflicts in Central African Republic,” the agreement said.

“They are committed to disposing their arms and renouncing armed fighting as a means of making political claims and to enter into the of Disarmament, Demobilisation, Reinsertion and Repatriation (DDRR),” it added.

The , which envisages some members of armed factions being absorbed into the army, will be supported by a 10,000- strong U.N. peacekeeping mission.