CAR's new leader says to listen to armed groups

2014-01-22 08:36
Catherine Samba-Panza (AFP)

Catherine Samba-Panza (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Bangui - Central African Republic's new interim president said on Tuesday she would hold talks with armed groups in an effort to restore order to the former French colony, where at least seven more people were killed in sectarian violence in the north.

In a sign of the growing support for Catherine Samba-Panza, the mayor of Bangui appointed as interim president on Monday, a representative of former Seleka rebels, who seized power in a coup last March, gave her his backing.

Samba-Panza replaced former Seleka leader Michel Djotodia, who stepped down on Jan. 10 under international pressure for failing to stop months of killings that have pitted Seleka's mostly Muslim fighters against anti-balaka militia drawn from the Christian majority.

The violence has driven more than one million people, or about a quarter of the population, from their homes. The United Nations says more than 2 000 people have been killed.

"I want to meet with the armed groups and listen to them," Samba-Panza told reporters on Tuesday. "If they took up arms, then there is a reason for that."

General Ousmane Mamadou Ousmane, president of the commission in charge of military reform of the Seleka alliance, said: "Our goal is clear, to support the new president to finish her mission, to support her so that peace returns to Central African Republic."

A spokesperson for a major group of anti-balaka fighters said on Monday he believed the new president could end violence.

On Tuesday, at least seven people were killed near the town of Bang, close to the borders with Chad and Cameroon, according to resident Jerome Kossine, who spoke to Reuters from a hiding place in the bush.

"Everything began with an attack by anti-balaka who killed a Seleka member early this morning in Bang," he said. "Then the Seleka based there came out in revenge and caused panic among the population by pillaging and burning houses."

Light and heavy weapons fire rang out from the area throughout the morning, he said. A second resident in nearby Ngaoundaye said Seleka fighters went from house to house, stealing from inhabitants and attacking them.

Still afraid

Concern over violence in the mineral-rich nation of 4.6 million people has prompted greater international involvement. The European Union has agreed to send 500 troops to support a 1 600-strong French mission, named Sangaris after a local butterfly.

A senior UN official has warned of the risk of genocide.

Samba-Panza used her first news conference as president to appeal to the international community to step up aid to help relaunch government activities, which have ground to a halt due to lack of money. Civil servants have not been paid in weeks.

Residents in a makeshift camp housing 100 000 at Bangui's international airport also welcomed the appointment of the new president but said they still feared attacks.

"We can't return home," said Richard Prince Masengue, referring to his neighbourhood. "The Sangaris operation has not arrived yet so there is still insecurity there."

Aid workers could struggle to feed the displaced after a strike by the UN truck drivers in neighbouring Cameroon who say it is too dangerous to enter the country, leaving 1 500 tons of food, enough to feed 155 000 people for a month, stranded at the border.

"Our stocks are almost finished here, and within the next few days we'll have nothing left to distribute," WFP spokesperson Alexis Masciarelli told Reuters, saying it was considering an airlift to bring in emergency supplies.

NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/News
 

Five wrapping hacks you have to know before Christmas

Five gift wrapping hacks that will save Christmas for you!

 
 

I love summer.24

Sexiest Instagrams of 2014
Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!
Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Mobile Marketing Manager

Western Cape
Recruit Digital
R15 000 - R22 000 Per Month

Analyst Developer

Western Cape
Progressive IT Resourcing (Pty) Ltd

Engineering Manager

Western Cape
Pro-Tech Recruitment
R850 000 - R1 100 000 Per Year

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off the bestselling books

Save big on the most captivating reads of 2014. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The energy today is serious, materialistic and hardworking. You may find you get a new outlook on things and you may want to spend...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.