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Bangui Requests Revival of Joint Border Security Body


BANGUI, Aug 29, 2003 (IRIN) — The government of the Central African Republic (CAR) has asked neighbouring Sudan to revive their joint border security commission to stem local tension between populations on both sides of the frontier, state-owned radio reported.

It said that the CAR minister of public security, Col Paulin Bondeboli, who received Sudanese Ambassador Souleyman Mouhamed Moustapha on Wednesday, confirmed ethnic clashes in the northeast of the CAR.

Bangui and Khartoum set up the joint security commission in mid-2002, to reduce the atmosphere of insecurity that had paralysed all cross-border commercial activity. But the commission failed to convene due to the armed rebellion that engulfed the CAR between October 2002 and 15 March 2003, which brought Francois Bozize to power.

Nevertheless, in May, Sudan gave the Bozize government military vehicles and other equipment to help fight border insecurity, blamed largely on the proliferation of firearms that flourished after the Bozize rebellion. The availability of guns is believed to have aggravated a long-standing border conflict between rival ethnic groups.

In September 2002, Sudanese poachers often crossed into CAR, near the town of Birao, an area with abundant wildlife and cattle. Sudan has also said that CAR citizens often crossed into Sudan to attack its citizens. In May and August 2002, entire CAR villages were burnt and dozens of people were reported killed.

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