News / Africa

New CAR Leader Accepts African Transition Plan

Central African Republic's new leader Michel Djotodia greets supporters at a Seleka rebel alliance rally, downtown Bangui, March 30, 2013.
Central African Republic's new leader Michel Djotodia greets supporters at a Seleka rebel alliance rally, downtown Bangui, March 30, 2013.
Reuters
The rebel leader who seized power in Central African Republic and proclaimed himself president accepted on Thursday a call by regional leaders to speed up a transition to democracy, but could stay in office, his information minister said.
 
Michel Djotodia led thousands of rebel fighters of the Seleka coalition into the riverside capital of the mineral-rich country on March 24, toppling President Francois Bozize.
 
African heads of state refused to recognize Djotodia as the country's legitimate leader at a summit in Chad on Wednesday and called for the creation of a transitional council to lead the nation to elections within 18 months.
 
"[Djotodia] accepted all of the recommendations made in N'Djamena ... He accepted all the schemes outlined by the heads of state," Christophe Gazam Betty told reporters following a meeting between Djotodia and regional foreign ministers.
 
African and Western leaders have condemned the seizure of power by the rebels, who accused Bozize of failing to implement previous peace agreements. The African Union suspended the former French colony and imposed sanctions on Djotodia while Washington said he was not a legitimate leader.
 
Djotodia has already tried to contain international condemnation by creating a transitional government headed by a civilian prime minister, Nicolas Tiangaye, and promising elections in three years.
 
However, the regional leaders called for the creation of a transitional body elected by all of the country's political actors and rebel groups to be charged with drawing up a new constitution and preparing the way for elections.
 
Under the plan, the council's head will serve as Central African Republic's president during the transition, which Gazam Betty said could allow Djotodia to keep his current position, this time with international approval.
 
"Everyone will be a candidate," said Djotodia's information minister. "If Mr. Djotodia, after all he's done to date, wants to be a candidate, I see no reason why he wouldn't be president."
 
Troubled cooperation

South African President Jacob Zuma, who attended the summit in Chad, announced late on Wednesday that he would be withdrawing his country's troops from Central African Republic.
 
The killing of at least 13 South African soldiers by the rebels during the March 24 onslaught has prompted questions about South African's role in the country, and how a military training mission there became entangled in an internal conflict.
 
South African media reports have suggested soldiers were defending South African mining interests, but officials in Pretoria have denied this. They say the presence of the 400 South African troops was covered by a 2007 bilateral defense accord with Bozize.
 
"South Africa and South African troops will never serve any unconstitutional government ... Because there is no constitutional government in CAR, our troops are coming back home," Foreign Minister Amite Nkoana-Mashabane said on Thursday.
 
Djotodia's rebel movement, known as Seleka, had previously called for South African troops to leave Central African Republic. But on Thursday, Gazam Betty told Reuters that the agreement between Pretoria and Bozize's administration would remain in effect, despite the president's overthrow.
 
"South Africa wishes to review with the new Central African authorities how this cooperation will evolve. Of course it will continue. No one has said any different," Gazam Betty said.
 
"There is a lot of work to do, and South Africa has a place in all that," he said.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs