World Bulletin / News Desk
Catherine Samba-Panza was sworn in on Thursday as the first female President of the Central African Republic (CAR) and the third across Africa.
"I call upon all militant groups to put down their weapons and seek solutions to resolve this conflict," the interim president told the swearing-in ceremony attended by several high-profile international and regional figures.
Samba-Panza, the Mayor of the capital Bangui, was elected on Monday by the National Transitional Council, CAR's transitional parliament.
She replaces Michel Djotodia, the country's first Muslim president since its independence from France in 1960, who stepped down earlier this month under international and regional pressure.
Samba-Panza, a 59-year-old mother of three, is Africa's third female head of state, after the presidents of Liberia and Malawi.
She was born in Chad to a Cameroonian father and a Central African mother.
She studied law in France and has been an active woman rights activist.
CAR, a mineral-rich, landlocked country, descended into anarchy in March when Seleka rebels – said to be mostly Muslim – ousted Christian president François Bozize, who had come to power in a 2003 coup.
For months, the country has been plagued by tit-for-tat sectarian violence between the anti-balaka and former seleka fighters.Last Mod: 24 Ocak 2014, 09:34