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Central Africa frees former rebel chief

12 April 2012, 16:29

Bangui - The Central African Republic on Wednesday freed former rebel chief Jean-Jacques Demafouth and two other leading opposition figures after a three-month detention, Demafouth and his lawyer told AFP.

"I have just left the SRI [a police office]," Demafouth said. "I'm happy to be with my family again."

Demafouth, who has headed the People's Army for the Restoration of Democracy (APRD) since 2008, would not make any other comment "because the case is still open".

His lawyer Mathias Barthelemy Morouba said two leaders of the opposition Union for Democratic Forces for Unity (UFDR), former minister Gontran Djono Ahaba, a member of parliament, and Abder Kader Kalile, were also released.

A judge ordered Demafouth to be freed but on condition that he regularly contacts legal authorities, he added.

"We are now waiting for a final decision: that the case will be dismissed and the fact that he has been freed is already a partial victory," said Morouba.

Demafouth's lawyer said in February a court had charged his client with breach of state security.

Demafouth, who garnered 2.79% of the votes in the 2011 presidential election coming in fifth, was arrested on 06 January.

He had earlier challenged the election outcome.

Following Demafouth's arrest, the APRD accused the government of President Francois Bozize of "violating the peace accords" both sides signed in 2008, and said it was pulling out of the peace process.

Demafouth said in January he was accused of wanting to take control of three other rebel forces. A defence minister under former president Ange-Felix Patasse, he denied the allegations.




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