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

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs