(AFP) – Sep 21, 2012
BANGUI — The Central African Republic army killed a rebel official who had announced his group was responsible for two recent attacks near the capital, sources on both sides said Friday.
The army shot Hassan al-Habib dead Thursday, days after he said his faction of the Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace (CPJP) had launched the September 15 attacks north of Bangui and threatened to carry out more.
Habib "was killed Wednesday by Central African armed forces around 15 kilometres (10 miles) from the southeastern town of Dekoa" in "a clash with rebels in the village of Dawa," a military source told AFP.
But another leader of the Fundamental CPJP faction, Colonel al-Kassim, said Habib "had been coldly gunned down in the street. There was no confrontation or fight" in a statement sent to AFP.
"He entered a store to make a purchase. Unaware that he'd been betrayed by a moto-taxi driver, he exited the shop to leave when two soldiers on motorcycles fired on him," Kassim said.
Habib contacted AFP by telephone Sunday to say Fundamental CPJP claimed responsibility for the attacks near Bangui.
"We decided to carry out this operation to prove to the authorities in Bangui that our movement exists, that we don't recognise ourselves as a party to the accords signed by (CPJP leader) Abdoulaye Hissene," he had said.
He was referring to the peace deal the CPJP signed last month with the government, officially ending the rebellion by the largest armed group still active in the violence-torn country and raising hopes of an end to years of conflict.
The Central African Republic has been rocked by regular rebellions and coups since the fall in 1979 of military dictator Jean-Bedel Bokassa, one of Africa's most ruthless rulers who was accused of serving up his political rivals to lions and crocodiles.
The instability has hobbled progress in a country that ranks among the world's poorest despite a wealth of raw materials such as uranium, diamonds and timber.
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