News / Africa

CAR Army Chiefs Pledge Allegiance to Coup Leader

Armed fighters from the Seleka rebel alliance patrol the streets in pickup trucks to stop looting in Bangui, March 26, 2013.
Armed fighters from the Seleka rebel alliance patrol the streets in pickup trucks to stop looting in Bangui, March 26, 2013.
Reuters
Central African Republic's army chiefs pledged allegiance to the country's self-proclaimed president Michel Djotodia on Thursday as the ex-rebel leader consolidated control four days after his fighters seized the capital.
       
Djotodia seized control of the resource-rich nation after thousands of his rebel fighters swept into the riverside capital Bangui on Sunday, ousting President Francois Bozize and triggering days of looting.

Seleka rebel leader Michel Djotodia.Seleka rebel leader Michel Djotodia.
x
Seleka rebel leader Michel Djotodia.
Seleka rebel leader Michel Djotodia.
"The former FACA [national army] officers wanted to meet with President Djotodia to tell him they recognize him as the new president,'' said Maurice Ntossui, a commander of the African peacekeeping force in the country who attended the meeting.
      
"All the former chiefs of police, gendarmes, the head of the armed forces and other senior officers came to the meeting. This was a form of surrender,'' he said.

At least 13 South African soldiers, among hundreds deployed to reinforce Bozize's army, were killed in the rebel onslaught in the worst military setback for Pretoria since the end of apartheid in 1994 and one which put a dent in any ambitions it has of becoming a continental superpower.

South African media and a senior Ugandan officer said South African soldiers gathered in Uganda on Thursday for a "new mission'' to Central African Republic.

"They were humiliated and they want to avenge,'' said the Uganda officer, who asked not to be named. South Africa's armed forces and defense ministry declined to comment.

A U.N. official in Democratic Republic of Congo said about 70 South African troops had been dispatched to the Congolese town of Gemena, 180 km from Bangui, but it was not clear what they were there to do.

A spokesman for the Seleka rebels said their leaders were struggling to restore calm in Bangui, a city of 600,000, where armed civilians were pillaging shops and homes. Seleka had asked police and other civil servants to return to work, he said.

Gunshot wounds

Seleka are fighters and they can't do police work,'' spokesman Colonel Youssouf Ben Moussa said. "We are trying to get our forces into their barracks ... It is true that there is still some looting but it is not our men.''

Medical charity Doctors Without Borders said 173 people had been taken to the town's one functioning hospital, most with gunshot wounds. Dozens were waiting to be operated on but the lack of running water and erratic power was impeding treatment.

There was sporadic shooting in parts of the city, but many shops and markets were reopening and traffic was returning as security slowly improved.

"Hunger can kill as well as bullets,'' said Marie Flore Boka, a 43-year-old civil servant on the streets buying food.

The overthrow of Bozize, who seized power in a coup in 2003, was the latest of many rebellions since the poor, landlocked country won independence from France in 1960. It was condemned by the United Nations and the African Union, which imposed sanctions and a travel ban on several Seleka leaders.
       
Seleka said they launched their offensive - in which they fought their way from the far north of the country to the presidential palace in four days - after the collapse of a power-sharing deal signed in January.
       
Witnesses, including among the scores of French expatriates being evacuated from Bangui airport on Thursday, said Seleka fighters went on a looting spree after taking the capital.

"They came into my hotel room and drew their weapons on me, demanding my money,'' said Yves De Moor, a French business owner. "One of them put a bullet into the chamber, which was a terrifying moment, and I gave them everything.''

You May Like

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Lawi
X
William Ide
October 20, 2014 10:23 AM
China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Nigeria Agrees to Cease-Fire With Boko Haram

Islamist militant group Boko Haram and the Nigerian government have agreed to a cease-fire. The Nigerian government issued an order Friday, telling all military chiefs "to comply with the cease-fire agreement in all theaters of operations. Why now and the significance of the agreement are questions on some people’s minds. VOA's Mariama Diallo reports.
Video

Video Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

The offensive by Islamic State militants against the northern Syrian city of Kobani has caused hundreds of thousands of residents to flee to Turkey. They receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from the town of Suruc a few kilometers from the border.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.

All About America

AppleAndroid