An armed group of Muslim fighters in the Central African Republic said it will only hand over weapons if some of its representatives are appointed to government positions.
Leaders of the so-called Seleka rebel group “must be represented in decision-making state institutions in order to facilitate the disarmament process,” Abdoulaye Hissene, a Seleka commander, told reporters Wednesday in the capital, Bangui. Hissene is based in the last remaining Muslim enclave in the city known as PK5.
Voters in the diamond-rich nation elected a new government earlier this year that has announced its intention to start disarming the armed groups that control the countryside. The Central African Republic has been divided among mainly Muslim rebels and Christian militia since the ouster of Francois Bozize in 2013.
The government of President Faustin-Archange Touadera has met with various Seleka leaders, according to Hissene, who broke out of the city prison in March after having been briefly detained on orders of the nation’s prosecutor. He hasn’t been arrested since.