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President and PM of Central African Republic resign amid anarchy

Central African Republic is one of the world’s most unstable countries and there are fears the power vacuum could cause more problems.

Michel Djotodia (centre) walks to board his plane to Chad on Wednesday.
Michel Djotodia (centre) walks to board his plane to Chad on Wednesday.
Image: AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

MICHEL DJOTODIA, THE rebel leader who seized control of Central African Republic only to see the desperately poor country tumble toward anarchy and sectarian bloodshed, has agreed to resign along with his prime minister, regional officials have announced.

There has been growing pressure for Djotodia to step aside and the resignation should help placate the armed militias who have used to violence to seek his ouster. However, his departure could also create an even greater power vacuum in a land that has long known coups and dictatorship.

Ahmat Allami, the secretary-general of the Economic Community of Central African States, made the announcement following a summit in neighboring Chad on the crisis. Legislators from Central African Republic also were flown to the Chadian capital of N’Djamena on Thursday to take part in the discussions.

Djotodia’s departure leaves the country in the hands of a weak transitional government. Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye, a longtime opposition leader prior to the March 2013 coup, is also stepping aside, Allami said.

imageSecurity volunteers use sticks to fend off a crowd trying to enter a food and supplies distribution point at a makeshift camp for some 100,000 displaced people at Mpoko Airport in CAR (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Background

Central African Republic has long been one of the world’s most unstable countries. The March 2013 coup brought heavily armed rebels to power who then proceeded to carry out atrocities against civilians. The rebels are mostly from the minority Muslim population and hail from the country’s long-marginalised north, and the resentment toward their abuses transformed the conflict into one with religious undertones.

In early December, a Christian militia backed by loyalists of ousted President Francois Bozize attacked the capital. In the violent aftermath, more than 1,000 people were killed and nearly 1 million fled their homes in fear. An estimated 100,000 people alone have sought shelter at the airport being guarded by French troops.

imageA French soldier waves to children as he patrols the area at Mpoko Airport in CAR (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Former coloniser France has sent some 1,600 troops in an effort to stabilise the country and an African peacekeeping force has provided thousands of additional soldiers. However, violence continues to wrack the capital of Bangui. Muslims who are suspected of collaborating with Djotodia’s rebellion have been stoned to death in the streets and their bodies mutiliated.

Read: At least two children beheaded among 16 dead in Central African Republic >

Read: EU nations to consider joint military operation to Central African Republic >

Read: Threat of ‘deadly outbreak of disease’ in camps for children fleeing CAR violence >

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Associated Press

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