BANGUI, Central African Republic – Rival militiamen on Sunday ended days of fighting in one neighborhood of the Central African Republic’s capital Bangui and hugged each other as bystanders cheered, witnesses said.
CAR chief of staff General Ferdinand Bomboyeke confirmed the witness accounts and said the goodwill gestures occurred after a “deal obtained” by the rivals fighting in a southern part of Bangui called Bimbo.
The fighting involved men belonging to the mainly Muslim ex-Seleka rebels who brought to power in March Michel Djotodia, who resigned under international pressure Friday, and Christian anti-balaka militiamen.
It was the first scene of this kind in Bangui following weeks of bloody sectarian violence.
The truce occurred after members of the French force in Bangui came to carry out a mediation effort, Roger Kombo, a CAR official said.
The fighters “hugged each other. They asked for forgiveness as people cheered,” Kombo told AFP.
The fighters from both sides then went together to the neighbourhood market and re-opened the checkpoint, allowing people in the neighborhood to travel about freely again, he said.
The neighbourhood commander of Seleka fighters, Captain Souleimane Daouda, told AFP that “we reached a ceasefire” with the anti-balaka militiamen in the area.
“There were negotiations all night. Early this morning we met. We told each other that we had no reason to fight since Djotodia is gone. We await instructions from the future authorities.”