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CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Government sets up team to identify former rebels

BANGUI, 29 September 2003 (IRIN) - Prime Minister Abel Goumba of the Central African Republic has set up an inter-ministerial team to identify former rebels fighters loyal to the nation's current leader, Francois Bozize, for their reintegration into the national army.

Speaking on Friday at the national political reconciliation conference in Bangui, the capital, Goumba said the team should also seek to integrate into civil society former fighters who were handicapped by the six-month war that brought Bozize to power. Goumba said fighters aged between 16 and 17 years were among the amputees. Many had no previous military experience. However, most of the 1,000 fighters were mostly regular soldiers who backed Bozize’s first rebellion in November 2001.

Goumba also announced, at the same occasion, that the government was paying salary arrears to civil servants in the health sector and would pay the allowances given to certain CAR students abroad.

When Bozize overthrew President Ange-Felix Patasse on 15 March, he promised to pay monthly salaries and pensions that Patasse had failed to honour during his 10 years in power. The Social Commission at the national reconciliation talks has put the arrears at some 110 billion francs CFA (some US $192.80 million).

Theme(s): (IRIN) Conflict



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