Woman mayor elected Central Africa interim president

Agence France-Presse

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Her first message to her Christian and Muslim constituents: lay down your arms

VICTORY AMIDST CONFLICT. The mayor of Bangui, Catherine Samba-Panza, waves to National Transitional Council (CNT) members after being elected interim president of the Central African Republic on January 20. Photo by Issouf Sanogo/Agence France-Presse

BANGUI, Central African Republic – The mayor of Bangui, Catherine Samba-Panza, was on Monday, January 20, elected interim president of the Central African Republic tasked with restoring peace to the country torn by sectarian bloodshed.

Samba-Panza was elected in a second-round vote by the transitional parliament, securing 75 votes against 53 for Desire Kolingba, the son of a former Central African president.

Cheers broke out in the assembly as the result was announced, with lawmakers singing the national anthem in celebration.

After she was elected, Samba-Panza urged Christian and Muslim militias to lay down their arms to put an end to months of sectarian bloodshed.

“Show your support for my nomination by giving the strong signal of laying down your weapons” to “stop the suffering of the people.” – Rappler.com

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