C.A.R. ex-president says returned “in spirit of appeasement and search for peace”

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FILE: Former president of the Central African Republic Francois Bozize (AFP Photo/SIMON MAINA)

Former Central African Republic President Francois Bozize has reiterated that his return to the country is in good faith, amid growing concerns that he will run in the upcoming elections.

Bozize, 73, returned to his country in December 2019 after more than six years in self-imposed exile after he was overthrown by a coalition of mainly Muslim armed groups.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, the former president said his party would decide on whether he will be its candidate in the December poll.

“As far as I am concerned, until proof to the contrary, nothing prevents me from being a candidate,” he said.

“I returned in a spirit of appeasement and search for peace, contrary to what some propaganda has tried to be spread in recent days,” he added.

The United Nations Security Council imposed sanctions on Bozize a year after his ouster, accusing the former leader of “engaging in or providing support for acts that undermine the peace, stability or security of CAR.”

Bozize has called for the sanctions to be lifted but insisted he can run for office again either way.

He distanced himself from the 2013 bloodshed that.

“I’ve always said that the anti-Balaka movement happened after me. The result was that the country was set on fire and blood,” he said. “It was not me who convened the Seleka in the Central African Republic. It was not me who crossed the red line. Let it be clear.”

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