Central Africa coup leader sworn in
19 August 2013, 10:51
Bangui - Former rebel leader Michel Djotodia was sworn in as president of the Central African Republic on Sunday, five months after seizing power in the violence-wracked country.
The former French colony's sixth president is tasked with restoring security in the impoverished state and steering the nation through a transition period leading to fresh polls within 18 months.
Djotodia swore the oath of office on the Transition Charter, which has substituted for the constitution since Francois Bozize was ousted, who himself came to power on the back of a military coup in 2003.
Djotodia vowed "to preserve the peace, to consolidate national unity (and) to ensure the well-being of the Central African people" before members of the Constitutional Court.
After ousting Bozize from power, Djotodia's Seleka rebel alliance won de facto recognition from the international community and a shot at steering the nation through the transition period leading to fresh polls.
Five months on however, the picture is bleak, with reports of widespread rape, child soldier recruitment and weapons proliferation prompting UN chief Ban Ki-moon to say the country needed the world's "urgent attention".
Djotodia vowed to combat insecurity in an address marking the nation's 53rd anniversary of independence from France on Tuesday last week.
An African peacekeeping force has begun deploying in the capital Bangui, which seems to be stabilising, even though gunfire could be heard overnight.