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Exiled former Central African Republic president Francois Bozize, who became a rebel leader, has been sentenced in absentia to forced labor for life for conspiracy and rebellion, authorities said Friday.

The ex-president, who seized power in the CAR in 2003 but was toppled a decade later, was sentenced on Thursday, according to a judgment sent to AFP by the justice ministry.

Bozize, 76, who was in exile in Chad until March when he moved to Guinea-Bissau, heads an alliance of rebel groups called the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), formed in December 2020.

Furthermore, two of Bozize’s sons and 20 other co-accused, who included rebel leaders, were also handed the same sentence in absentia.

They were also convicted of compromising the internal security of the state and “murdering,”, according to the judgment by an appeals court in the capital, Bangui.

The judgment gave no details on the time period concerned or the crimes. However, the conflict lost intensity in 2018, but the country still suffers bouts of violence and remains deeply poor.

Civil conflict has torn CAR, one of the world’s poorest countries, since 2013, when Muslim-dominated armed groups ousted Bozize.

In conclusion, Bozize set up armed militias known as the anti-Balakas, who were mainly Christian, to try to regain power. READ MORE

written by @enock katamba

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