Central African Republic - South Africa

Central African Republic rebels form new government

Nicolas Tiangaye, Prime Minister of the Central African Republic
Nicolas Tiangaye, Prime Minister of the Central African Republic Afp / Sia Kambou

The Central African Republic’s Prime Minister has unveiled a post-coup government of Séléka rebels and the former opposition party.

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On Sunday, Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye named a 34-member cabinet for the former French colony that includes nine ministers from the Séléka rebels coalition, which seized the capital Bangui last week.

Eight ministers come from the former opposition, and one is close to ousted president François Bozizé, who fled the country after the coup.

A government spokesman said the ministers would be sworn in later this week.

The self-proclaimed president of the Central African Republic, Michel Djotodia, added the post of defence minister to his job titles.

The announcement comes as South Africa questioned its military presence in the country as the coup took hold.

Thirteen South African soldiers died during intense fighting last week as Séléka rebels captured the capital.

Officially some 200 troops were sent to train local forces under a 2007 deal between South African President Jacob Zuma and Bozizé.

Local media reports suggested the soldiers were sent to protect the business interests of certain South African politicians in the country.

South Africa’s main opposition Democratic Alliance said it will lodge a parliamentary motion to force the government to withdraw its troops.

“Given the continued controversy surrounding the deployment, the lack of a clear mandate for our troops to remain in the CAR, the continued risk to the soldiers’ safety and rumours that the [military] is considering a ‘revenge’ mission into the CAR, we believe the entire…presence should be withdrawn immediately,” it said in a statement.

South African media also reported allegations that child soldiers were killed in the battle for Bangui.

“It was only after the firing had stopped that we saw we had killed kids,” a paratrooper told the country’s Sunday Times.

“We did not come here for this…to kill kids. It makes you sick. They were crying, calling for help…calling for [their] mums.”

The South African army declined to comment on the reports.

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