Africa

Central African Republic’s ousted leader Bozizé to run for president again

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The Central African Republic's former president François Bozizé on Saturday announced he would run in a presidential election in December, a high-risk vote in an impoverished country that has been ravaged by civil war since his overthrow in 2013.

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Bozizé, who returned from exile in Uganda in mid-December, was chosen to be his party's candidate at a congress in Bangui.

"I solemnly accept the task you have assigned me," he told supporters, announcing he would run in CAR's presidential election in December.

The former president took power after a 2003 coup, before being overthrown himself 10 years later by Michel Djotodia, head of the mainly Muslim Seleka rebellion in the predominantly Christian country.

Since then, the poor landlocked country has spiralled into bloodshed, marked by vicious intercommunal violence.

France intervened militarily in its former colony from 2013 to 2016 to push out the Seleka, winding down the operation after Faustin-Archange Touadera was elected president.

Touadera governs today with the support of a large UN peacekeeping operation, but most of the country is controlled by ex-rebels and militias.

UN sanctions

The government signed a peace deal in February 2019 with 14 armed groups, who typically claim to defend the interests of specific communities or religions.

Violence has since generally receded, but there are still bloody flare-ups, typically sparked by fighting over resources.

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