Delegates from Central Africa’s ex-rebel group Seleka failed to show up Tuesday for a second day of peace talks in Brazzaville seeking to end more than a year of sectarian bloodshed.
The two main negotiating sessions, on securing an end to hostilities and disarming fighters in CAR, were suspended in the absence of the mainly Muslim movement.
A third workshop on the political transition went ahead at the request of the regional grouping ECCAS, according to a member of the Congolese organising committee.
The Congolese source said Seleka delegates had been provided with a copy of the draft accord due to be signed on Wednesday at the close of the talks. They were apparently still studying the text.
One of Africa’s poorest countries, CAR has been mired in chaos since the Seleka seized power in a March 2013 coup, with months of atrocities by rebels gone rogue sparking reprisal attacks by mostly Christian anti-balaka vigilantes.
The three-day forum for reconciliation and political dialogue, chaired by Congo’s President Denis Sassou Nguesso, is aimed a resolving a crisis that has left thousands of civilians dead and driven more than a million people from their homes.
Around 170 Central African officials are taking part including members of transitional President Catherine Samba Panza’s government, lawmakers, envoys from armed groups, political parties and civil society.
They are backed by a contact group of some 30 countries and organisations.
Even as negotiators huddled in Congo, fresh violence erupted in the capital Bangui Monday with the killing of a former Seleka rebel that sparked an immediate riposte.
Allies of the victim stormed out of their nearby base camp, looting and robbing stores, firing off shots and taking a group of students captive.