News / Africa

CAR Leader Flees; Rebel Chief Declares Self President

FILE-Central African Republic rebel leader Michel Djotodia is met by journalists as he arrives ahead of planned peace talks with the Central African Republic's government, at the airport in Libreville, Gabon, January 7, 2013.
FILE-Central African Republic rebel leader Michel Djotodia is met by journalists as he arrives ahead of planned peace talks with the Central African Republic's government, at the airport in Libreville, Gabon, January 7, 2013.
VOA News
The ousted president of the Central African Republic has fled to Cameroon, as rebels who overthrew him named a new head of state and pledged to hold elections within three years.

Officials in Cameroon's capital, Yaounde, confirmed that CAR President Francois Bozize arrived there after fleeing the fighting that left 13 South African soldiers dead.

Michel Djotodia, the head of the Seleka rebel coalition, named himself the new CAR leader and says elections will take place within three years. Civilian opposition leader Nicolas Tiangaye will retain the prime minister's post he was given in a January power sharing deal.  

Residents in the capital, Bangui, say there is widespread looting in the city by both rebels and civilians. Residents have also been without power or running water for several days.

The United Nations says it is evacuating all its non-essential workers from the city.

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma says at least 27 soldiers were wounded in the fighting and one soldier is missing.

"Just over 200 of them fought bandits numbering more than 1,000 people," said Zuma. "They fought a high tempo battle for nine hours defending the South African military base."

A U.N. official in Bangui, Amy Martin, tells VOA that basic services such as security and water are needed for the United Nations to be able to resume its work.

"All of the U.N. offices, all our stores, warehousing, whatever, have been looted," said Martin. "There is very little left. When people loot ... it has been looted not once but by several different groups that have come through."

The medical aid group, Doctors Without Borders, says its facilities in Bangui have also been looted. It called on all parties in the conflict to respect health facilities and medical workers.

In another development Monday, French troops patrolling the international airport in Bangui killed two Indian citizens when several vehicles tried to enter the facility. Further details about the shooting were not immediately available.

Following the rebel takeover of Bangui, the African Union suspended CAR's membership and ordered sanctions against the rebel leaders.

The United States on Monday condemned the ousting of President Bozize, but stopped short of calling for him to be reinstated.

France's U.N. Ambassador Gerard Araud says CAR must find a way back to constitutional order as soon as possible.

"The situation is obviously a source of concern," said Araud. "Yesterday night there was plundering and violence in Bangui. The question is how to go back to a constitutional order, which means how to go to elections as soon as possible."

Araud says 300 French soldiers are heading to the country to assist the 600 troops currently in the CAR.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned what he called an "unconstitutional seizing of power" by the rebels, and urged a "swift restoration of constitutional order."

Ban says he is deeply concerned about reports of human rights abuses and looting in Bangui, "including of United Nations property."  

He said an agreement between the government and the rebels signed in January remains the best way to ensure peace and security.  That deal calls for Bozize to remain in power until his term ends in 2016, with an opposition member named prime minister.

The rebels, who began their offensive in December, accuse the president of breaking the agreement.

Bozize has led CAR since taking power in a 2003 coup.  CAR has a history of coups and unrest since winning independence from France in 1960.

Seleka political spokesman Eric Massi told VOA that President Bozize had to leave CAR to bring peace.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid