New CAR leader picks ministers

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iol newsp ic SIE015_CENTRALAFRICAN-_0205_11

Reuters

Catherine Samba-Panza. File picture: Siegfried Modola

Bangui, Central African Republic - The Central African Republic's interim president Catherine Samba Panza has re-appointed several ministers from her coup-leader predecessor's cabinet, national radio said Wednesday.

Samba Panza, a Christian who is tasked with restoring stability in a country torn apart by Christian-Muslim violence, kept some key figures from Muslim rebel leader Michel Djotodia's government, including the minister who liaises with French and African troops deployed to end the bloodshed.

Jean-Jaques Demafouth, a longtime political heavyweight, retains his post as security adviser for relations with African Union-led force MISCA and former colonial ruler France's Operation Sangaris.

The new cabinet, which has about 30 ministers, also retains Abdoulaye Hissene, minister for youth and sports.

Both Demafouth and Hissene once fought in previous rebel movements in the chronically rebellion- and coup-prone country.

At least 10 other members of the new cabinet were part of the previous government or held key posts on Djotodia's staff.

Djotodia, the leader of the mostly Muslim Seleka rebel alliance, seized power in March 2013.

His former fighters then launched a campaign of murder, rape and looting against the Christian majority, unleashing a wave of tit-for-tat violence that has displaced around a million people and left thousands dead.

Djotodia, who failed to stop the crisis, was forced to resign under international pressure in January. The transitional parliament picked Samba Panza to replace him on January 20.

Sapa-AFP


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