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Next CAR president to face tough army reform

© FRANCE 24

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-01-15

Central African Republic caretaker president Alexandre-Ferdinand Nguendet wants to deploy more troops before his successor is chosen at the weekend, but the wider challenge of restoring a national army remains daunting.

The Central African Republic’s National Transitional Council (NTC) is due to elect a new interim president to head the troubled nation on Saturday January 18 following the resignation of Michel Djotodia.

Diplomats have been pushing the transitional parliamentary body to elect a successor to Djotodia, who fled the country on January 10, ten months after his rebellion seized power. The diplomats view Nguendet as too close an associate of Djotodia to be a candidate himself.

The international community “invites the NTC to contribute to a peaceful and transparent election by adopting consensual criteria and excluding its own members from the race”, General Noël Essongo told reporters on Wednesday on behalf of the international mediator for CAR, Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso.

In the meantime Nguendet, who is also NTC speaker, has pledged to put more boots on the ground to quell sectarian violence.

African Union and French troops are in the Central African Republic to try to help restore order.

But months of civil strife have left the national security forces in tatters, and militias have proliferated.

Top military officers in the capital Bangui told FRANCE 24 reporters that the army needed weapons, ammunition, uniforms and vehicles and should be reorganised before it can go out on the streets.

“We have not been paid for four months, so it has been very difficult for us,” said Blaise Kazangba, a sergeant in the Central African army.

Caretaker president Nguendet said he would not run to keep his post after this week. But he wished to leave his mark during his few days in power by calling on all militias to disarm immediately. “Those that will not comply with these orders will face consequences, and by consequences, I mean they will be crushed with lethal force,” he said.

Date created : 2014-01-15

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