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 Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid