Central African president meets with militia leaders
Central African Republic President Catherine Samba Panza met Saturday with leaders of the Christian-dominated anti-balaka militias who had called for her to resign, following several days of violence that left at least 10 people dead.
Bangui: Central African Republic President Catherine Samba Panza met Saturday with leaders of the Christian-dominated anti-balaka militias who had called for her to resign, following several days of violence that left at least 10 people dead.
Samba Panza, who heads a transitional government in a country still reeling from the aftermath of a coup last year, has sought to ease tensions among the warring factions, her spokeswoman Marie Antoinette Montaigne Moussa said on national radio.
Following the talks, Montaigne said that Central Africans "can expect a gradual de-escalation (of the violence) over the next few days, and the country will get a break so people can start to live and attend to their business."
The CAR has been torn apart by revenge killings and attacks between the mainly Muslim ex-Seleka rebels who led the coup and the so-called anti-balaka (anti-machete) militias formed by the Christian majority in response.
A source close to the anti-balaka said the militia leaders were "well received" by the president and that they were no longer calling for her to step down.
Earlier in the week they had accused Samba Panza of failing to meet the needs of Central Africans and allegedly embezzling millions of dollars in cash given to CAR by the Angolan government.
The militia leaders however made other demands to the president, including calling for her government to resign and to free their members who are jailed, the source said.
The renewed violence had erupted in Bangui on Tuesday, leaving at least 10 people dead over four days, including a Pakistani UN peacekeeper. There were also clashes between the anti-balaka militias and foreign forces -- UN, French and European -- sent to help re-establish peace in the impoverished and notoriously unstable country.
Tensions appeared to have eased by Saturday.