Christian militia in Central African Republic to abandon armed fight, form political party

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A Christian militia in Central African Republic says it is abandoning its armed fight and transforming itself into a political party.

Central African Republic has been rocked by violence since the mostly Muslim Seleka rebel coalition toppled the president last year. Widespread human rights abuses committed by Seleka led to the formation of the anti-Balaka Christian militia, unleashing sectarian fighting that has forced hundreds of thousands of Muslim civilians to flee to neighboring countries.

At a conference of militia members Saturday, Patrice Edouard Ngaissona, their national coordinator, announced that the militia would, from now on, only fight through political means. He said any member who continues to carry out attacks will be brought to justice.

A U.N. peacekeeping force is trying to restore stability in Central African Republic.