Former Central African President François Bozizé has returned to the country six years after his fall and his departure into exile, his political party secretary Bertin Béa announced on Monday.
“Since yesterday, François Bozizé has been in the Central African capital. These are not mere rumors, it is a truth. In the coming days, François Bozizé will speak to address his compatriots, « he said at a press conference held at the headquarters of the ousted president’s party, Kwa na Kwa.
« This announcement does not seem credible to me, » however, spokesman for the Central African government Maxime-Ange Kazagui reacted to AFP.
Overthrown in 2013 by the Seleka, a coalition of rebel armed groups that had seized the capital Bangui, the former general who came to power in 2003 had to give way to Michel Djotodia before fleeing the country. Since then, his lawyers and his followers have campaigned for the Central African government to authorize his return.
François Bozizé is still under an international arrest warrant launched in the Central African Republic in 2013 for « crimes against humanity and incitement to genocide ».
Under United Nations sanctions
The former president is also under United Nations sanctions for his role in the 2013 Central African crisis, marked by violent community clashes between Christian and Muslim populations, during which he notably supported anti-balaka militias.
In 2016, a circular from the Ministry of Transport also prohibited airlines from taking the ex-president to the Central African Republic.
The Bangui administrative court on Wednesday rejected the request by François Bozizé’s lawyers, who requested an enforceable stay of the circular, to allow the former president’s return.
« Don’t ask me how it got there, » said Bertin Béa. Despite the drop in violence since the signing of a peace agreement on February 6 between the Bangui government and 14 rebel groups, the Central African Republic is still ravaged by violence which has forced nearly a quarter of its 1.4 million d residents flee their homes.