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Bangui Mayor Picked as Interim CAR President

Lawmakers in the Central African Republic have chosen the mayor of the capital city, Bangui, to be the country's interim president.

Catherine Samba-Panza was elected in a run-off Monday, defeating the son of a former CAR president on a 75-to-53 vote.

She will have the task of trying to stop months of chaos and inter-religious violence that have displaced more than 900,000 people from their homes.

Samba-Panza replaces former interim leader Michel Djotodia, who resigned under international pressure January 10 after failing to halt the violence.

In Brussels Monday, European Union foreign ministers approved a plan to send hundreds of peacekeepers to the CAR. The EU operation would be in support of 1,600 French troops and nearly 5,000 African soldiers already in the country.

Also, the United States said it is providing an additional $30 million to address urgent humanitarian needs in the CAR.



Despite the presence of peacekeepers, fighting has continued. Aid group Save the Children says at least 22 people died near the town of Bouar on Friday when attackers ambushed a convoy of Muslims fleeing sectarian clashes.

Samba-Panza was chosen by a Transitional National Council tasked with leading the CAR toward stability.

The country, which has a history of unrest, descended into chaos last year after mostly Muslim Seleka rebels toppled President Francois Bozize.

Attacks and looting by the rebels sparked the rise of Christian defense groups and a cycle of killings. The U.N. humanitarian agency says 882 people have been killed in Bangui alone since early December.

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