A rebel coalition that has been fighting the government of the Central African Republic said on Friday that it suspended a three-day ceasefire ahead of a tense general election this weekend.
The Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), which launched an offensive against the government a week ago, said in a statement that it had “decided to break the 72-hour ceasefire it had imposed on itself and resume its relentless march towards its final goal “.
In the statement, which was confirmed to AFP as genuine by two of the six groups in the coalition, the CPC said it made the decision “in the face of” the government’s irresponsible stubbornness “.
The ceasefire signatory had “called on the authorities to observe a ceasefire during the same period” and called on President Faustin Archange Touadera to suspend Sunday’s presidential and legislative elections.
But government spokesman Ange-Maxime Kazagui dismissed the ceasefire on Thursday, saying it was “a non-event” and that “we have not seen these people stop what they are doing”.
The rebel coalition said on Friday that the government had “cavalierly rejected” this “chance for peace”.
“Several attacks followed in positions occupied by the CPC’s patriots,” it said in a statement.
The authenticity of the foreign country was confirmed by two armed groups – 3R and the Popular Front for the Rebirth of Central Africa (FPRC).
General Bobo, the leader of 3R, told AFP that “now either the government is spreading us or we are marching towards Bangui, which is our ultimate goal”.
Fighting had resumed in Bakouma, about 250 kilometers east of the capital Bangui, according to Vladimir Monteiro, a spokesman for the UN MINUSCA peacekeeping force.
The CPC was created on December 19 by armed groups accusing Touadera, the front-runner in Sunday’s election, of trying to fix the vote.
Its components are sourced from militia groups that together control two-thirds of the country.
This weekend, the government accused Touadera’s dismissed predecessor, Francois Bozize, of promoting a coup against the rebels, an accusation he denies.
Shooters had tried to advance down the main roads towards Bangui, but were stopped according to MINUSCA.