Rebels suspend Constitution, dissolve Parl in Central African Republic

Soon after the rebels took control of the Michel Djotodia, the rebels leader, reportedly declared that the Constitution of CAR will be suspended and the Parliament will be dissolved.

Last Updated: Mar 26, 2013, 09:42 AM IST

Zeenews Bureau

Johannesburg: Soon after the rebels took control of the Michel Djotodia, the rebels leader, reportedly declared that the Constitution of Central African Republic (CAR) will be suspended and the Parliament will be dissolved.

Promising elections in three years, Djotodis said that until fair polls are held, he would "legislate by decree", as per a BBC report.

The president of the Central African Republic fled the country for Cameroon after rebels overran the capital of the impoverished nation long wracked by rebellions.

South Africa said on Tuesday that 13 of its soldiers were killed in fighting with rebels, prompting criticism about why its forces had intervened in such a volatile conflict.

Ousted President Francois Bozize sought "`temporary" refuge on its territory, the Cameroonian government confirmed.

Central African Republic`s new leadership appeared fragmented, with a split emerging in the rebel coalition that seized the capital.

The African Union imposed a travel ban and asset freeze on seven leaders of the rebel coalition, known as Seleka, and said their advance had undermined prospects for a lasting solution to the crisis in the landlocked country. It urged African states to deny "any sanctuary and cooperation" to the rebel chiefs.

The United States is "deeply concerned about a serious deterioration in the security situation" in Central African Republic, said US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement yesterday.

"We urgently call on the Seleka leadership which has taken control of Bangui to establish law and order in the city and to restore basic services of electricity and water," the statement said.

The rebel groups making up the Seleka alliance agreed they wanted Bozize out. Some of the rebels complained of broken promises of government jobs and other benefits. Others cited the deep impoverishment of the country`s distant north despite the Central African Republic`s considerable wealth of gold, diamonds, timber and uranium.

Africa has a fraught history of foreign military missions, whether for humanitarian or political purposes, or some combination of the two, in times of conflict. The central part of the continent, repeatedly buffeted by interlocking rebellions, is particularly treacherous for countries with an activist foreign policy.

In addition to the South African troop deaths, another 27 soldiers were wounded in the country`s worst loss in combat since nine soldiers died in Lesotho in 1998.

"I think South Africa realised right from the beginning that there will be casualties," said Johan Potgieter, a researcher at the Institute for Security Studies, in Pretoria, the South African capital. "If you want to be in peacekeeping, and you don`t want body bags, you should get out of there."

(With PTI Inputs)