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UN Says Running Out of Food for Central African Republic

The World Food Program says it is running out of food in the troubled Central African Republic because of continued unrest in the country.

That warning comes as lawmakers in the C.A.R. chose a new interim president, Catherine Samba-Panza, to lead the country out of months of chaos and Muslim-Christian violence. The instability has driven more than 900,000 people from their homes.

The U.N. food agency says its trucks are positioned at the C.A.R. border with Cameroon, but it says truck drivers refuse to cross the border because of insecurity.

WFP officials say their cereal stocks are close to being exhausted and they will soon run out of legumes. They say that as a last resort, they are considering airlifting the food to the capital, Bangui.



The C.A.R.'s new president replaces former interim leader Michel Djotodia, who resigned under intense international pressure after he failed to stop the fighting. Samba-Panza is the mayor of Bangui and the country's first female president.

The presidential vote was conducted by a Transitional National Council tasked with leading the C.A.R. toward stability.

Also Monday, European Union foreign ministers in Brussels approved a plan to send hundreds of peacekeepers to the C.A.R. The EU operation would be in support of 1,600 French troops and nearly 5,000 African soldiers already in the country.

The United States said it is providing an additional $30 million to address urgent humanitarian needs there.

The Aid group Save the Children says at least 22 people died near Bouar on Friday when attackers ambushed a convoy of Muslims fleeing sectarian clashes.

The C.A.R., which has a history of unrest, descended into chaos last year after mostly Muslim Seleka rebels toppled President Francois Bozize.

Attacks and looting by the rebels sparked the rise of Christian defense groups and a cycle of killings. The U.N. humanitarian agency says 882 people have been killed in Bangui alone since early December.

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