Muslim, Christian leaders call for help in CAR

PARIS, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Leaders from the Muslim and Christian community in the Central African Republic called for a strong international role to help end lingering violence.

The International Committee of the Red Cross warned early this week violence in CAR, one of the poorest nations in the world, was of great concern. The warning preceded the Thursday swearing in of interim President Catherine Samba-Panza, tasked with leading the country away from its troubled past.


Samba-Panza took over after President Michel Djotodia, a former Seleka rebel leader, agreed to resign last week. Seleka toppled the government in March, though Djotodia lost control of rebel forces who later faced retaliation from members of the Christian militia, anti-balaka.

Roman Catholic Archbishop Dieudonne Nzapalainga and Muslim Imam Kobine Layama, both from CAR, said a formal U.N. peacekeeping mission would help bring stability to the country.

"There have been enormous [rights] violations," Layama was quoted by the Religion News Service as saying Thursday from Paris. "These recent years have left our country in a serious situation and on the verge of famine."

The U.N. Security Council last year authorized a French military role to support the African Union's peacekeeping mission in CAR.


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