More than 40 killed during CAR power vacuum

Photo: More than 40 killed during CAR power vacuum / Other News

More than 40 people have been killed in the capital of the Central African Republic (CAR) since interim president Michel Djotodia stepped down, the UN human rights office said in Geneva on Tuesday, dpa reported.

Djotodia's resignation late last week has failed to stem the violence in Bangui and elsewhere, the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said.

"More violence, killings and looting have also been reported in other parts of the country in recent days," the UN said, noting, however, that the number of clashes had decreased slightly.

International medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres on Tuesday confirmed that the CAR's security situation was "still tense."

Fighting continued between Muslim Seleka fighters and Christian vigilante groups in the capital, while explosions caused by grenades and artillery shells could be heard in the past few days, it said.

CAR's provisional parliament on Tuesday began the process of electing a new political leadership, days after the interim president was forced to resign.

The 10-day negotiations are being led by National Transitional Council chairman Alexandre Ferdinand Nguendet, who signed a decree late on Sunday giving the country's 135 parliamentarians the authority to elect a new interim president.

There has been a power vacuum in CAR since Friday, when Djotodia and prime minister Nicolas Tiangaye left office, bowing to pressure from regional leaders.

Djotodia had failed to stop the violence between Muslims and Christians during his rule, in which hundreds of people have been killed and a million displaced.

About 2.2 million people - around half the population - need humanitarian aid, according to the United Nations.

The country has been experiencing a humanitarian crisis since Djotodia's Seleka coalition rose up against the government in December 2012 and overthrew president Francois Bozize, a Christian, in March.

Even after Djotodia, who was sworn in as interim president in August, officially dissolved the Seleka coalition that brought him to power, he remained unable to end the violence.

There are currently 3,500 African Union peacekeepers and 1,600 French troops in CAR. Soldiers of CAR's army started returning to barracks on Tuesday.

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