UK & World News

  • 12 January 2014, 4:51

CAR: More Violence As Foreigners Set To Leave

More violence has broken out in the Central African Republic (CAR) capital of Bangui following the resignation of the country's president and prime minister.

At least three people were killed in the clashes, including a Christian vigilante, an ex-Seleka rebel and a civilian, according to the Central African Red Cross.

The fighting came as the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) prepared to evacuate thousands of stranded foreigners caught up in the fighting.

Sporadic gunfire was heard in Bangui and there were widespread reports of looting in the city.

The head of the Central African Red Cross, Pastor Antoine Mbaobogo, said many looters were targeting Muslim-owned shops.

"Those who were looted when the (mainly Muslim) Seleka arrived (in March last year) are now looting in turn," he said.

President Michel Djotodia, the first Muslim leader in the majority Christian nation, resigned on Friday alongside his prime minister, Nicolas Tiengaye.

During his tenure, Mr Djotodia set up a transitional council and promised open elections but unrest and sectarian fighting began within months of his appointment.

It was hoped his resignation would help ease tensions in the country.

The CAR has seen spiralling violence between the mainly Muslim Seleka rebels who brought Mr Djotodia to power last year, and Christian militias.

More than 1,000 people have been killed in the past month alone and signs of sectarian conflict remain in Bangui where a mosque was targeted by a gang of young looters.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has called on the African Union to provide promised troops to help end the "terrible crisis" in the nation.

So far, France has deployed 1,600 troops to help support the African Union MISCA force, which is meant to have up to 6,000 troops but has not yet reached 3,500.

European nations on Friday agreed in principle on a plan to launch a joint military operation in the country, with a final decision expected later in the month.

An interim parliament will hold a special session on Monday to discuss Mr Djotodia's replacement.

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