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

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora