Central African Republic President Will Not Stand Down

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President Francois Bozize of the Central African Republic (CAR) will not step down from power to negotiate peace with the Seleka rebels, according to Reuters. However, the Associated Press indicated on Thursday that Bozize had fired his son, Jean Francis Bozize, from the position of defense minister and had fired his army chief of staff.

Rebels are positioned 45 miles from Bangui since they began their assault on the Central African Republic on December 10.

Here are the latest headlines regarding the Central African Republic's insurgency:

* Cyriac Gonda, spokesman for Bozize's ruling KNK party, said, "The question of President Bozize leaving ... will be rejected systematically if it is proposed," according to Reuters.

* Rebel spokesman Col. Djouma Narkoyo said that they will maintain their current position at Sibut while they continue to negotiate with Gabon, Reuter reported. Gabon is one of the nearby nations within the area of central Africa and a member of the Economic Community of Central African States.

* According to another article by Reuters, the town of Damara has become the "red line" area where the rebel coalition will be confronted if it tries to head to the capital city, Bangui.

* A multinational force of central African countries including Chad, Gabon, Republic of Congo are positioned in an area outside of Damara.

* The United Nations humanitarian office noted on Thursday that it is concerned that civilians will be subjected to looting and violence due to the rebellion, according to the United Nations News Center. The Security Council and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon have condemned recent attacks in an area where an estimated 316,000 people live. In Bangui, 700,000 are at risk from future attacks should the rebels choose to advance on the capital.

* On Wednesday, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement by Minister Laurent Fabius said that "commitments made yesterday by President Francois Bozize in the Central African Republic are a step in the right direction." He further called for authorities to not take actions that would be contrary to advancing peace talks, and said that rebel groups should "guarantee the safety of the populations in the zones under their control." Central African Republic was formerly a part of French colonial holdings in Africa.

* CAR has been subject to attacks from the Lord's Resistance Army, a formerly Ugandan rebel group that crosses central African borders regularly to elude pursuit. Both CAR and U.S. special forces have sought to neutralize the Lord's Resistance Army, Reuters noted.

Shawn Humphrey is a former contributor to The Flint Journal and an amateur Africanist, focusing his personal studies on human rights and political issues on the continent.

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