BANGUI: An armed faction of the Seleka rebel coalition in the Central African Republic has attacked the northern town of Sido, a military source said Friday, in an apparent breach of a recent peace accord.
Fighters of the "CPJP Fondamentale" (the Convention of Patriots for Peace and Justice) led by General Nouredine Adam came across the border from Chad and attacked Sido, close to the frontier, on Thursday, the source said.
The rebels targetted the local administrative headquarters, the army base, the paramilitary police post, the customs post and the police station, he added. The town was abandoned as troops and residents fled into Chad.
"For the moment, we don't know the toll of this attack led by rebels who arrived on board four 4x4 vehicles, of which two were fitted with heavy machine guns," the source said.
The Seleka - which means "alliance" - signed a peace pact on January 11 in Gabon's capital Libreville with President Francois Bozize's regime in the deeply poor, landlocked and unstable country.
The accord mediated by regional leaders provided for a new government of national unity, which was formed and is now led by a member of the opposition, Nicolas Tiangaye, and includes Seleka members.
One of them, Communications Minister Christophe Ghazam Betty, went on local radio Friday to condemn the attack in the north.
"Nouredine Adam takes upon himself the responsibility of going against the Libreville accords. Also by this act, which I describe as madness, he annoys the heads of state in the Economic Community of Central African States and the international community."
The new government is tasked with heading a transition to peace and holding parliamentary elections within a year in the nation of almost five million people.
On Friday, however, the Seleka issued a statement in which it accused Bozize, who has ruled since a military coup in 2003, of "imposing the government on Prime Minister Tiangaye, who wasn't able to resist or to impose himself though he was assured of strong support from the Seleka."
In the statement, made available to AFP in Libreville, the rebel coalition called Tiangaye "weak and pliable" and charged that Bozize had set up an alternative "shadow cabinet" to carry out his will.