The ‘anti-balaka’ militia in Central African Republic, which was formed in response to the abuses by mostly Muslim rebels who seized power in 2013, has said it would lay down its weapons and become a political movement.
Representatives for the mostly Christian militia movement decided at a general assembly in the capital Bangui late on Saturday that their movement would be renamed the Central african Party for Unity and Development (PCUD).
Leaders of the anti-balaka movement – which is popular with many in southern Central African Republic – have for several months aspired to turn the militia into a political movement ahead of presidential and legislative elections next year.
“We pledge to look forward, as responsible individuals concerned for a better future for Central African Republic and its people,” said Patrice Edouard Ngaissona, a businessman and coordinator of the anti-balaka movement.
“From today, no member of the anti-balaka should use weapons, for any reason. Our arms must all be buried.”
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