Calm Returns to Central African Republic After Weekend Mayhem

Monday, 13 Jan 2014 10:25 AM

By Joel Himelfarb

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Gunmen have laid down their weapons in one of the most violent districts of Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic (CAR),  after several days of fierce fighting there between Christian and Muslim militias. 
 
Rival fighters embraced each other following several days of looting, gunfire and even cannibalism in the city, the BBC reported

But factional fighting was reportedly continuing outside Bangui, even as CAR factions prepared for talks Monday on the selection of a new acting president.

The country’s transitional parliament chief, Alexandre Ferdinand Ngeundet,   urged the people of the CAR to “trust” the government’s efforts to prevent violence and maintain order, the Voice of America reported.

Michel Djotodia, who served as interim president after his faction, the predominantly Muslim Seleka rebel force, seized power in a March coup, has left the country and is expected to go into exile in a neighboring African state, according to the BBC.

More than 1,000 people have been killed and tens of thousands displaced after violence broke out in December in the CAR. France, the nation’s former colonial ruler, has stationed 1,600 troops there in an effort to restore calm, and there are approximately 4,000 African Union peacekeepers deployed in the country as well.     

In Bangui over the weekend, AU peacekeepers were seen rounding up suspected looters and French soldiers worked to restrain a mob who attacked a vehicle they believed had been carrying members of a former Seleka commander’s family. AU peacekeepers managed to evacuate those riding in the car moments before rampaging assailants torched it.
 
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