27 January 2014

Central African Republic: Seleka Rebels Flee CAR Capital

Many Muslim civilians are fleeing Bangui after weeks of violence involving Seleka fighters and the Christian militias known as anti-balaka (file photo).

Muslim rebels who ousted the Central African Republic's president last year are fleeing their main camp in the capital.

Witnesses say hundreds of Seleka fighters evacuated Camp Deroux in Bangui on Monday, moving by convoy to another base north of the city.

Peter Bouckaert, the emergencies director for Human Rights Watch, said in a post on Twitter that he saw 25 vehicles with 500 heavily armed men driving through central Bangui. According to Bouckaert, Seleka leaders left the camp on Sunday, escorted by Chadian troops with the African Union peacekeeping force.

Many Muslim civilians are fleeing Bangui and the CAR as well after weeks of violence involving Seleka fighters and the Christian militias known as anti-balaka.

Witnesses told VOA's French to Africa Service there was more looting of houses in Bangui's Muslim neighborhoods Monday.

The World Food Program reported it has began feeding more than 40,000 people who have crossed into Chad.

The WFP said 300 tons of emergency food aid had arrived in Bangui after being held up for weeks in Cameroon. The agency says the food is just a fraction of what is needed to feed the hundreds of thousands displaced in the capital.

On Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry threatened U.S. sanctions against those in the Central African Republic who keep destabilizing the country.

Kerry called on all C.A.R. leaders, past and present, to be clear in condemning the violence and to stop it from gaining momentum.

Interim C.A.R. President Catherine Samba-Panza named a new prime minister Saturday, three days after she was elected by the country's transitional parliament.

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