Jul 23, 3:45 PM EDT

Central African Republic's rebels sign cease-fire


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BRAZZAVILLE, Republic of Congo (AP) -- Representatives of the Muslim and Christian factions battling in Central African Republic signed a cease-fire agreement on Wednesday in neighboring Republic of Congo.

The ceremony was carried live on the Republic of Congo's state television.

The signing on Wednesday comes after heavy pressure from regional mediators and only one day after the Seleka Muslim rebels failed to show up for the second day of talks.

It is not clear if the cease-fire will be respected by the fighters on the ground in Central African Republic. Representing Seleka was Gen. Mohamed Moussa Dhaffane, who parted ways with top Seleka leaders last year.

Thousands have died in sectarian violence between the Seleka rebels and the Christian anti-Balaka group in the past 16 months.

The Seleka rebels seized power in March 2013, overthrowing the president of a decade. Their leader stepped down in January, setting off a series of reprisal attacks by the anti-Balaka militia.

A civilian transitional government is now tasked with organizing national elections by February although violence is still raging in the country's provinces.

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