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CAR to Choose Interim President

  • VOA News

FILE - Alexandre-Ferdinand Nguendet, head of the Central African Republic's transitional assembly, is seen giving a speech in Bangui, Jan. 13, 2014.

FILE - Alexandre-Ferdinand Nguendet, head of the Central African Republic's transitional assembly, is seen giving a speech in Bangui, Jan. 13, 2014.

Lawmakers in the Central African Republic are due to vote Monday on a new interim president to help end months of turmoil and sectarian fighting.

Eight candidates are eligible for the post, including two sons of former presidents and two female politicians.

Those disqualified from running include any officials who worked for former president Michel Djotodia, political party leaders, active soldiers and those who have belonged to a militia or rebel group at any point in the past 20 years.

Candidates also have to prove they have no links to the Seleka - a mostly Muslim rebel coalition that unleashed a wave of killings last year - or to the rival Christian militia.

The new interim leader will replace Djotodia, who resigned last week under pressure over his inability to stop the violence.

Meanwhile, European Union foreign ministers are expected to approve the deployment of hundreds of soldiers to the CAR on Monday as well. The EU operation would be in support of the nearly 5,000 African-led forces and 1,600 French troops already in the country.

Despite the peacekeepers, fighting has continued.

The aid group Save the Children said on Sunday that attackers armed with machetes and clubs ambushed a convoy of Muslims fleeing sectarian violence and killed 22 people, including three children.

Spokesman Mike McCusker said the attack took place in the remote northwest of the country Friday, outside the town of Bouar. He said the entire population of Bouar is taking refuge in mosques and churches.
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