Central African Republic (CAR) transitional president Michel Djotodia, who violently toppled dictator François Bozizé in March 2014, has resigned after coming under tremendous pressure from regional leaders.
CAR Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye is also gone, raising fresh optimism that their voluntary abdication will bring peace and stability in the diamond-rich nation, where the armed conflict, and the subsequently Muslims versus Christians war, has killed more than 200 000 people – mostly women and children.
TV pictures broadcast on major news networks showed many people celebrating the pair’s resignation in the capital Bangui, while heavily-armed French soldiers mounted a solid guard around the presidential palace to ensure that Djotodia, a Muslim, left in peace.
Regional leaders, who met in the Chadian capital Ndjamena on 9-10 January, said a replacement to Djotidia will be named ‘as soon as possible’.
Meanwhile, an estimated 1 million people who have been displaced by the ‘senseless’ war continue to live in dire conditions, according to reports. About 100 000 people sought refuge at the Bangui international airport, which is being strictly guarded by the French army.
UNICEF, which reported cases of measles at this airport, said CAR was heading for a humanitarian disaster. Some children and elderly people have died of hunger and thirst, reports said.