Monday, 18 January 2021

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Chaos, pillaging and revenge attacks are over, declares CAR interim leader

Photo: Flickr / DFID - UK Department for International Development   2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Following the resignation of the Central African Republic's two interim leaders, the top United Nations official in the crisis-riven country called for calm as the authorities mobilized to arrange elections of new transitional leadership.

Armed attacks between ex-Séléka and Christian anti-balaka militias had escalated significantly in the past two weeks, despite the creation of a transitional government following the attack a year ago by mostly Muslim Séléka rebels which forced President François Bozizé to flee.

Since then, thousands of people are estimated to have been killed, nearly 1 million driven from their homes, and 2.2 million, about half the population, need humanitarian aid.

Babacar Gaye, Special Representative and Head of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office for the Central African Republic (BINUCA) called on the people and the leaders of the CAR to maintain calm and show maturity following the previous leaders', President Michel Djotodia’s and Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye’s, resignations. “Along with the International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA), French forces, SANGARIS, have made important progress in securing Bangui,” he said, adding that their efforts must be supported, especially as numerous threats persist.

Alexandre-Ferdinand Nguendet, whose parliament has been charged with finding a new transitional president within two weeks, today declared: "The chaos is over, the pillaging is over, the revenge attacks are over."

Nguendet, speaker of the country's provisional parliament, vowed that the "anarchy" that has gripped the country would be swiftly brought to an end. He also issued a stern warning to warring fighters from the mostly Muslim Seleka group and the anti-balaka Christian fighters set up to oppose them. "To the ex-Seleka, to the anti-balaka and the lovers of looting, I'm giving you a severe warning: The party is over."

The return of soldiers and police to duty was another encouraging sign for the Central African Republic after weeks of horrific sectarian violence.

Nguendet said the police, completely absent from the streets of Bangui in recent weeks, would be "redeployed within 72 hours and would take part in the disarmament process" under way in the city.

Nguendet's speech came the day after scenes of reconciliation in the southern Bangui neighbourhood of Bimbo as rival fighters struck a truce and embraced.

The interim president also visited to the airport where some 100,000 people were sheltering to urge them to return home.

Source: UN News, Al Jazeera

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