World News

Eight Candidates Listed for CAR Interim Presidency

Lawmakers in the Central African Republic have shortlisted eight candidates, including two sons of former presidents, to become interim leader and pull the country out of months of turmoil and factional killings.

The members of a transitional assembly are to select one as president on Monday after former leader Michel Djotodia resigned under international pressure over his failure to end the bloodshed.

Among eight candidates selected from an initial field of 24 are Sylvain Patasse, whose father was the country's only democratically elected leader and governed from 1993 to 2003.

Also chosen was Desire Zanga-Kolingba, whose father took power in a coup and ruled from 1981 to 1993. The current mayor of Bangui, Catherine Samba-Panza, is also in the running as is a second female candidate, Regina Konzi-Mongo.

Excluded from standing for president are any political officials who worked for Djotodia, party leaders, active soldiers and anyone who has belonged to a militia or rebel group in the last 20 years.



To qualify, candidates had to show they had no link to the Seleka - a mostly Muslim rebel coalition that unleashed a wave of killings and looting last year - or to the rival Christian militia known as "anti-balaka" (anti-machete).

Seleka and the anti-balaka groups have continued to carry out sporadic tit-for-tat killings, despite the presence of 1,600 French troops and nearly 5,000 African Union peacekeepers.

The aid group Save the Children said attackers armed with machetes and clubs ambushed a convoy of Muslims fleeing sectarian violence on Friday, killing 22 people including three children.

Spokesman Mike McCusker said Sunday the attack took place in the remote northwest of the country, outside the town of Bouar. He said the entire population of Bouar is taking refuge in mosques and churches.

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