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Cameroon arrests C. African rebel leader

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An undated handout photo released by the Central African People's Democratic Front (FDPC) shows their leader Abdoulaye Miskine standing with fighters in Biti. Police in Cameroon have arrested a rebel leader from neighbouring Central African Republic, Miskine, suspecting that he might launch cross-border raids.FDPC/AFP/File

Police in Cameroon have arrested a rebel leader from neighbouring Central African Republic, Abdoulaye Miskine, suspecting that he might launch cross-border raids, a source in the security forces said Thursday.

"Miskine was arrested on September 16 while he was in a hotel room in Bertoua," in eastern Cameroon, across the border from the CAR, the source told AFP, asking not to be named.

General Miskine, the leader of the rebel Democratic Front of the Centrafrican People (FPDC), was taken to the capital Yaounde, "where he is currently in custody of a special police service," the source said.

"Investigators want to know if he is using Cameroon as a rear base to prepare a possible plan to destabilise" the CAR, the source added, saying that Miskine had spent several days in Bertoua and had also been in the southern port city of Douala.

Miskine and his men last December joined forces with the Seleka rebel alliance that fought its way to power in the Central African capital Bangui in March, ousting president Francois Bozize, who had ruled for 10 years.

But in April, Miskine cited "differences in points of view" with the Seleka forces and broke ranks. Seleka troops then attacked the FPDC rebels and chased them into the northeast of the CAR.

Miskine, who is a veteran of strife in the unstable country, said that he had been wounded in the clashes and lost his "right-hand man ... and many men". Military and civilian sources meanwhile accused the Seleka forces of looting towns in their path.

Since Bozize fell on March 24, the new authorities in the deeply poor, landlocked nation have proved incapable of restoring order across large tracts of lawless territory, where bandits and renegade soldiers run riot.

The Seleka coalition itself, led by President Michel Djotodia, has been accused of repeated rights violations against the civilian population in Bangui and in the interior of the country.