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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid