BANGUI, Central African Republic
A rebel leader of a radical wing of the pro-Muslim Seleka militia in the Central African Republic has declared an autonomous state in the northeastern part of the country.
"The new state is called the Republic of Logone," Maoulou Moussa, spokesman of the rebel leader Noureddine Adam, told the press on Tuesday.
“What we want first is autonomy. Then we will see how to move towards independence,” Moussa said, adding that Adam signed a copy of the declaration of autonomy on Monday.
A copy of the declaration was also presented to the UN Office in Kaga-Bandoro Tuesday, he said.
Adam is the leader of the Renaissance of Central Africa, also known as FPRC, which is one of the four factions of the Seleka militia.
He had earlier rejected the ongoing electoral process in the war-torn Central African state. The rebel said that the upcoming general election will not take place in areas under the control of Seleka militia.
The flag of the so called “Republic of Logone” was also hoisted in Ndele city but the UN peacekeeping forces known as MINUSMA immediately removed it, residents told Anadolu Agency.
The UN peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic condemned the declaration of autonomy in a statement. “MINUSCA warns FPRC and any other armed group not to try to disrupt the peace process and derail the elections in Ndele, Bossangoa or anywhere else throughout the national territory,” the mission said in a statement.
“MINUSCA also condemns FPRC statement in which they declared the north-eastern region’s autonomy and will use all means available, including the use of force, against any separatist attempt in accordance with its mandate," the statement said.
Dominique Said Panguindji, a government spokesperson, said: "We urge the international community and the international forces present in Central African Republic to do everything possible to neutralize the capacity of these terrorists".
Central African Republic's transition authorities said that Adam was the country's "public enemy number one" because he was against the electoral process. His group had also prevented people from voting during last Sunday's referendum in many cities across the country, including Kaga-Bandoro.
The rebel's move came two weeks ahead of a general election that is expected to lead the country to stability.
Since 2013, Central African Republic has been experiencing a deadly sectarian violence between Muslim Seleka and Christian Anti-balaka militia.