Central African rebel alliance names PM-designate

Seleka coalition's choice of prime minister, lawyer Nicolas Tiangaye (right), together with Central Africa's leading opposition figure Martin Ziguele (left), and lawyer Crepin Mboli-Goumba (centre) arriving in Bangui on January 15, 2013. PHOTO | AFP 

The Seleka rebel alliance in the Central African Republic (CAR) on Tuesday said it backed opposition figure Nicolas Tiangaye to become prime minister in a move that advances a peace deal reached last week.

"We have just confirmed Mr Tiangaye as prime minister. He is the future prime minister, there is no more objection," Michel Djotodia, a Seleka leader, said in Brazzaville after talks with the Republic of Congo's President Denis Sassou Nguesso, who heads a follow-up committee monitoring the accord.

Djotodia and several other rebel delegates were accompanied in the meeting by Tiangaye, a lawyer who was last week chosen as government chief by the political opposition in the unstable and impoverished landlocked nation.

Tiangaye returned later Tuesday with Djotodia to the CAR capital of Bangui, where troops were on standby to ensure the safety of the rebel leader.

Speaking outside Bangui's international airport, Tiangaye said there was "no further obstacle" to Central African President Francois Bozize signing him into power.

"I don't know when the decree will be signed but it is urgent as the country has been without governance since Saturday," he said.

Peace deal

The peace accord signed by the rebels, the ruling party and the democratic opposition in Gabon's capital Libreville last Friday aims to end an insurgency that started on December 10 in the north of the CAR and saw the rebels move to within 100 miles from the capital Bangui.

In line with the deal, Bozize on Saturday dissolved his government to pave the way for a unity government to be headed by a prime minister named by the opposition.

On Sunday night, former minister of territorial administration Josue Binoua said Bozize was waiting for written approval from the Seleka coalition, which includes three rebel groups, before formally appointing Tiangaye.

"There is no more dissent because the Libreville accord provided for the prime minister to come from the democratic opposition and the democratic opposition unanimously chose me," Tiangaye said in Brazzaville after the talks.

"That has been approved by the Seleka coalition."

The Seleka insurgency was the latest in a series of uprisings that have rocked the CAR, where Bozize came to power in a 2003 coup.

Djotodia and his allies said they had taken up arms because the government had failed to uphold earlier peace deals. At one point, they called on Bozize to step down, but that demand was dropped in the peace talks.

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