World News

PM: CAR Will Move Up Presidential Election

The prime minister of the Central African Republic has announced plans to speed up a transition of power, as the country deals with deadly unrest.

Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye says the presidential election that was originally set for 2015 will take place next year instead.

He says a new national election authority will be sworn in by early next week.

There was no immediate comment from the CAR's interim president, Michel Djotodia.

The prime minister spoke to reporters on Thursday, after a meeting in the capital, Bangui, with U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power.

Power, who is on a one-day visit to the CAR, spoke to VOA correspondent Idrissa Fall, who is also in Bangui.

The ambassador said she is urging the country's leaders to work together.

"When people see division among the leaders, it sends a signal that the society is divided and so, they need to show unity."

Power also told Fall that those who have committed atrocities must be held accountable.

"People have suffered in this country and if they don't feel as if their suffering and their pain is being taken into account, the risk is that they will seek to do justice themselves."

Fall said gunfire could be heard in the capital, where a nighttime curfew is in effect. He said the source of the shooting was unclear.

The CAR slipped into chaos after mostly Muslim rebels, known as Seleka, toppled president Francois Bozize in March. Months of looting and killing have brought retaliation by Bozize allies and Christian militias known as anti-balaka.

Human rights groups expressed renewed alarm over the situation Thursday.

Amnesty International said more than 1,000 people had been killed in Bangui since violence flared earlier this month. The death toll is significantly higher than what had been reported by relief organizations.

Human Rights Watch issued a report saying the Christian militias have committed atrocities against Muslims in a cycle of violence that "threatens to spin out of control."

The group highlighted alleged brutality by the militias in Ouham province, where it said fighters have slit the throats of women and children.

Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director for Human Rights Watch, says there is a high potential for more mass violence.

"We documented many cases in which both Christians and Muslims were targeted because of their religion and their attackers made statements like, 'We will kill all the Muslims in the country.' We've documented where children as young as three years old had their throats cut by the attackers. So we're talking about extreme violence and communal violence. And once that communal violence sets in, it's very difficult to stop."

French and African Union troops in Bangui are attempting to stop the violence and restore order.

The African Union recently boosted the planned number of troops in an African-led support mission in CAR, known as MISCA, from about 3,600 to 6,000 troops.

The transfer of troop authority from the Economic Community of Central African States to MISCA is taking place on Thursday.

In an interview with VOA , AU spokesman El Ghassim Wane said MISCA's leadership has already begun work in Bangui.

The White House said Thursday the U.S. is providing up to $101 million in assistance to CAR to help restore security.


Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs