News / Africa

    Central African Republic's Interim President Resigns

    FILE - Central African Republic's President Michel Djotodia attends a ceremony marking the beginning of construction on a bridge destroyed during floods in Bangui on Dec. 3, 2013.
    FILE - Central African Republic's President Michel Djotodia attends a ceremony marking the beginning of construction on a bridge destroyed during floods in Bangui on Dec. 3, 2013.
    Nick Long
    The International Organization for Migration is evacuating stranded foreign nationals Saturday from the Central African Republic, following appeals from neighboring African countries.

    The airlift comes after the resignations of President Michel Djotodia and Prime Minister Nicolas Tiengaye Friday at the end of a two-day summit in Chad by leaders of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).

    ECCAS leaders said talks will be held in Bangui, the CAR capital, to decide the country's new leadership.  The announcement follows months of deadly sectarian violence.

    The first three IOM charter flights in the coming days will repatriate about 800 Chadians from war-torn Bangui to Chad's capital, N'Djamena. The 800 are part of a group of 2,500 Chadians sheltering in a transit camp adjacent to Bangui airport, living in miserable conditions at the overcrowded and unsanitary site.

    News of the president's resignation was greeted by joyous street celebrations in Bangui. "Djotodia's resigned!' shouted one girl.  Cheers, blaring car horn and gun shots fired in the air could be heard throughout the capital.

    The president's resignation came after an extraordinary call Thursday by the summit for the entire transitional parliament in Bangui to board a plane and fly to N'Djamena.  
    When they arrived they were summoned to intensive talks, which carried on until nearly 4 a.m. Friday.  It is understood the talks were aimed at persuading the parliament, which includes Djotodia supporters as well as opponents, to agree that he should step aside.  

    Michel Djotodia

    • Seized power from Francois Bozize in March 2013
    • First Muslim leader of Christian majority Central African Republic
    • Involved in several rebel groups, including Seleka
    • Studied in the Soviet Union in the 1970s
    • Served as diplomat in Sudan
    • Born in 1949 in northeastern Vakaga region

    A former minister in a previous CAR government, Gaston Mandata, said in an interview that he agreed with the resignation of the interim president.

    Djotodia, as well as the Prime Minister Nicholas Tiangaye have shown their limitations when it comes to managing the transition, Mandata said, adding that the two now former leaders have shown serious incompetence and a lack of capacity to handle the crisis and the transition successfully.

    The CAR state has virtually collapsed since Djotodia came to power in March 2013 on the back of a rebellion by the Seleka alliance, whose fighters are accused by Human Rights Watch of many atrocities.

    A cycle of sectarian violence between Muslim and Christian militias peaked in December when at least 750 people were killed in Bangui, and others died outside the capital.

    Mandata blames Djotodia for much of the chaos, saying Seleka rebels have looted, raped ans stolen since they took over Bangui in Decemeber 2012.  And he said the Seleka leader, Djotodia, allowed them to do it.

    But  he repeatedly denied responsibility for Seleka abuses and blamed his predecessor, Francois Bozize, for the instability.

    Some observers have suggested that Seleka fighters were taking revenge for atrocities committed by previous governments, particularly in the northeast of the country.
     
    Central African Republic's transitional parliament is likely to choose another interim president to serve through national elections, which could possibly be held later this year.

    A Catholic priest, Abbe Albert Tungumale-Baba, says his church in Bangui is currently sheltering hundreds of people who have fled violence. He said Central Africans need to be wary of influence from N'djamena, the Chadian capital.

    Central Africans believe that Chad and the Chadian president, Idriss Deby, have been involved in the operations that led to the current situation, the priest said.  He believes regional leaders must meet and discuss and seek solutions, but there also is a need for truthful, sincere discussions.

    Chadian President Idriss Deby told the summit that the CAR had been plunged into the tragedy of war by its own children.

    According to former CAR minister Mandata, there are fears the Seleka might try to force a breakaway or secession in northern parts of the country, where there is oil.  He called on Chad not to support the Seleka.

    • Chadian African Union soldiers patrol during a joint Chad MISCA French army patrol in Wouango district, Central African Republic, Jan. 9, 2014.
    • Militiamen stand in one of their bases near Mpoko Airport in Bangui, Jan. 9, 2014.
    • Security volunteers use sticks to fend off the crowd trying to enter a food and supplies distribution point at a makeshift camp at Mpoko Airport, in Bangui, Jan. 9, 2014.
    • Workers hold rice bags before distribution at the airport in Bangui, Jan. 8, 2014.
    • A baby is passed over a high fence surrounding an aid distribution point inside a makeshift camp at Mpoko Airport in Bangui, Jan. 8, 2014.
    • A displaced refugee woman carries a rice bag after receiving it as humanitarian aid at the airport outside the capital Bangui, Jan. 7, 2014.
    • Newly-cleared plots of land are marked for settlement inside a makeshift camp at Mpoko Airport in Bangui, Jan. 7, 2014.
    • A French soldier talks to curious children as he mans a roadblock in the Miskine neighborhood of Bangui, Central African Republic, Jan. 6, 2014.
    • A French soldier waves through traffic as he mans a roadblock in the Miskine neighborhood of Bangui, Central African Republic, Jan. 6, 2014.

    You May Like

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    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.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    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 Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    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.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora