Central African Republic former president Francois Bozize has taken charge of a rebel alliance aiming to overthrow the central government, the group’s spokesman said Sunday.
Bozize seized power in the former French colony in 2003 and was ousted a decade later, an act that sparked a civil war along sectarian lines.
The government has accused him of being behind a failed offensive against President Faustin Archange Touadera in December.
Bozize’s spokesman Serge Bozanga confirmed to AFP on Sunday that he had agreed in February to become “general coordinator” of the so-called Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), which attempted to block Touadera’s reelection, only to see their offensive repulsed.
Bozanga confirmed the authenticity of a document dated February 18 stating that Bozize had accepted the CPC’s leadership “call”.
The CPC brought together six of the armed groups that control much of the country in mid-December to launch the offensive against Touadera, just over a week before presidential and legislative elections.
Up against a 12,000-strong UN peacekeeping force as well as hundreds of Russian and Rwandan soldiers and paramilitaries deployed in late December, they have been in retreat since a January 13 attack on the capital Bangui was thwarted.
The government alleged that the rebels had acted in concert with Bozize.
The constitutional court blocked his bid to stand in the presidential election, on the grounds that he was under UN sanctions over his alleged support for militias held responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the 2013-14 conflict.
© Agence France-Presse