News / Africa

Looting in CAR Capital as New President Sworn In

A young anti-Balaka Christian militiaman carrying a machete walks by French soldiers taking part in 'Operation Sangaris' and standing guard at the PK 12 crossroad in Bangui, Jan. 23, 2014.
A young anti-Balaka Christian militiaman carrying a machete walks by French soldiers taking part in 'Operation Sangaris' and standing guard at the PK 12 crossroad in Bangui, Jan. 23, 2014.
VOA News
Witnesses report heavy looting in the Central African Republic's capital Thursday as the country's new interim president took office.

Reporter Nick Long, who is in Bangui, tells VOA that thousands of people looted houses in PK13, a predominantly Muslim suburb.

He says Rwandan peacekeepers chased away the looters but that looting resumed when the peacekeepers left to guard the swearing-in ceremony.

Newly parliamentary-elected interim President of the Central African Republic Catherine Samba-Panza walks into the National Assembly prior to her swearing-in ceremony in the capital Bangui, Jan. 23, 2014.Newly parliamentary-elected interim President of the Central African Republic Catherine Samba-Panza walks into the National Assembly prior to her swearing-in ceremony in the capital Bangui, Jan. 23, 2014.
x
Newly parliamentary-elected interim President of the Central African Republic Catherine Samba-Panza walks into the National Assembly prior to her swearing-in ceremony in the capital Bangui, Jan. 23, 2014.
Newly parliamentary-elected interim President of the Central African Republic Catherine Samba-Panza walks into the National Assembly prior to her swearing-in ceremony in the capital Bangui, Jan. 23, 2014.
The CAR's new interim president, Catherine Samba-Panza, appealed for calm this week ahead of her inauguration, held in the parliament Thursday.

The new president - the former mayor of Bangui - will face massive challenges after more than a year of political unrest and inter-religious violence in the country.

The United Nations estimates thousands have been killed in the CAR over the past year, and nearly a million displaced from their homes.

That number includes an estimated 500,000 in Bangui alone.

CAR Interim President Catherine Samba-Panza

  • 59 years old
  • Born in Chad to Chadian father and Central African mother
  • Former businesswoman
  • Named Bangui mayor in 2013 after rebels toppled president
  • Elected interim president by CAR transitional council Jan. 20, 2014
  • CAR's first female president
French and African peacekeepers patrolling the capital have been largely unable to halt the violence. On Wednesday, Amnesty International warned of an upsurge of attacks against Muslims by the mostly Christian "anti-Balaka" militia groups.

The country descended into chaos after the mostly-Muslim Seleka rebels toppled President Francois Bozize last March.

Interim leader Michel Djotodia resigned January 10 under pressure from regional leaders because of his failure to stabilize the country.

Samba-Panza was chosen as interim president Monday by the CAR's transitional parliament. She is due to stay in office until national elections can be organized next year.

Images from the Central African Republic

  • Soldiers from the AU peacekeeping mission prepare to leave at the end of a speech given by Alexandre Nguendet, the head of Central African Republic's transitional assembly at the Gendarmerie headquarters in Bangui on Jan. 13, 2014.
  • Central African transitional parliament chief Alexandre Nguendet gives a speech in Bangui, Jan. 13, 2014.
  • People react to a speech given by Alexandre Nguendet, the head of Central African Republic's transitional assembly in Bangui, Jan. 13, 2014.
  • French soldiers man a street beside in Bangui, Jan. 12, 2014.
  • An anti-balaka soldier in Ouengo district in Bangui, Jan. 12, 2014.

You May Like

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriagei
X
May 21, 2015 4:14 AM
The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.
Video

Video Women to March for Peace Between Koreas

Prominent female activists from around the world plan to march through the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea to call for peace between the two neighbors, divided for more than 60 years. The event, taking place May 24, marks the International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament and has been approved by both Koreas. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan Following Record High Poppy Crops

Afghanistan has seen record high poppy crops during the last few years - and the result has been an alarming rise in illegal drug use and addiction in the war-torn country. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem has this report from Kabul.
Video

Video America’s Front Lawn Gets Overhaul

America’s front yard is getting a much-needed overhaul. Almost two kilometers of lawn stretch from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument. But the expanse of grass known as the National Mall has taken a beating over the years. Now workers are in the middle of restoring the lush, green carpet that fronts some of Washington’s best-known sights. VOA’s Steve Baragona took a look.

VOA Blogs