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CAR new leader to be inaugurated

Bangui - Interim president Catherine Samba-Panza was due to be inaugurated on Thursday amid a climate of fear and violence in the Central African Republic, where at least 10 people have been killed in recent days.

A man throws a tyre on a fire as a crowd barricades a street in the capital Bangui on January 22, 2014. Picture: Siegfried Modola. Credit: REUTERS

Samba-Panza's election last week was meant to re-launch the political process in the conflict-ridden nation, after the previous political leadership stepped down.

Her election was also designed to help bring peace, since Samba-Panza, a Christian, is said to be respected by both sides of the conflict.

She was chosen on January 20 by CAR's provisional parliament as the country's first female leader from a list of eight candidates.

Former interim president Michel Djotodia and interim prime minister Nicolas Tiangaye had ceded power on January 10 under pressure from regional leaders.

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

The European Union has in the meantime approved a military intervention in CAR to provide backup to the 1 600 French and 3 500 African Union peacekeepers already in the strife-torn country.

An international donors' conference to aid CAR is scheduled for February 1 in Addis Ababa.

In the latest violence, about 10 civilians and an AU soldier from the Democratic Republic of Congo were killed in the capital Bangui over the past two days, a peacekeeper told dpa on condition of anonymity.

“It is difficult to attribute the attacks to a group, but the information we received from witnesses is that it was a Seleka attack,” the source told dpa.

Some of the killings took place in Bangui's Ngaragba neighbourhood, where Samba-Panza lives.

The nation, which is rich in gold and diamonds, has witnessed sectarian violence between Muslim Seleka fighters and Christian vigilante groups for the past 13 months.

Thousands have been killed and 1 million people displaced since Seleka rose up against the government in December 2012 and overthrew then-president Francois Bozize, a Christian, in March.

Sapa-dpa

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