Voice of America (Washington, DC)

Central African Republic: Nation to Choose Interim President

Photo: Amnesty International
Graffi calls for the former president to step down amid the ongoing crisis.

Lawmakers in the Violence plagued Central African Republic choose a new president Monday, hoping that person will end months of turmoil and factional fighting.

Eight candidates are eligible, including two sons of former presidents and two female politicians.

Excluded from running are any officials who worked for former president Michel Djotodia. He resigned last week under pressure over his failure to end the bloodshed.

Also disqualified are political party leaders, active soldiers and anyone who has belonged to a militia or rebel group in the last 20 years.

Candidates also have to prove they have no links to the Seleka - a mostly Muslim rebel coalition that unleashed a wave of killings last year, or to the rival Christian militia.

Both groups continue sporadic tit-for-tat killings, despite the presence of 1,600 French troops and nearly 5,000 African Union peacekeepers.

The aid group Save the Children Sunday said attackers armed with machetes and clubs ambushed a convoy of Muslims fleeing sectarian violence, killing 22 people, including three children.

Spokesman Mike McCusker said the attack took place in the remote northwest of the country Friday, outside the town of Bouar. He said the entire population of Bouar is taking refuge in mosques and churches.

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