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Central Africa's new PM unveils government

Newly-appointed prime minister of the Central African Republic (CAR), Mahamat Kamoun, has unveiled his government, which includes 31 cabinet ministers, an official source said on Friday. At least 19 of the 31 ministers are fresh faces, the source said, noting that the new line-up included four Muslim ministers and seven women. The announcement came shortly after President Catherine Samba-Panza addressed the nation, during which she denounced "manipulation" by certain political leaders who sought to "destabilize the transitional authorities" by criticizing the appointment of Kamoun, the troubled country's first Muslim premier. In her address, Samba-Panza said the appointment of Kamoun – who is of a Muslim father from the country's northeast and a Christian mother from the southwest – would "serve the best interest of the nation… and help unite the various communities in the country." Kamoun's predecessor, André Nzapayeke, submitted his resignation earlier this month at Samba-Panza's request, as the president had wanted a government more representative of the country's diverse society in line with a recent ceasefire deal signed between rival militias.
Signed in the Democratic Republic of Congo on July 23, the agreement seeks to end months of sectarian bloodletting between the Muslim Seleka and Christian anti-balaka militias. The nation's Muslims complain of inadequate government representation since former president Michel Djotodia, a Muslim, stepped down in January. He was replaced by Samba-Panza, a Christian who had formerly served as mayor of capital Bangui. Landlocked CAR descended into anarchy last year when Seleka rebels ousted then-president Francois Bozize – a Christian who had come to power in a 2003 coup – and installed Djotodia in his place. Christians, who account for the majority of the country's population, accuse Muslims of supporting Seleka militants blamed for attacking Christian homes, looting property and carrying out summary executions during Djotodia's brief stint in power.
By Sylvestre Krock

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