(News Of The South) – The mayor of the Central African Republic’s capital Bangui Catherine Samba Panza was on Monday chosen as interim president and she becomes the first woman and is expected to steer the country to elections.

Born in Chad, Samba moved to Central African Republic at the age of 18.

Business woman Samba became Bangui Mayor in 2013 is faced with the challenge to restore order in the country.

A total Of 500 troops have been sent into the violence wracked country by the European Union to assist Samba.

The killing and looting in Central Africa Republic has left many people homeless and thousands are known to have fled the country.

Samba won 75 votes against 53 for Desire Kolingba, the son of a former president.
In Her victory speech she called for an end to violence by the mostly Muslim Seleka ex-rebels and Christian self-defence militias known as “anti-balaka” (anti-machete).

“I’m launching a resounding appeal to my anti-balaka children who are listening to me: Show your support for my nomination by giving the strong signal of laying down your weapons,” said Samba-Panza, who is Christian but did not campaign on a religious platform.

“To my ex-Seleka children who are also listening to me: Lay down your weapons,” she said.

Seleka fighters triggered revenge attacks by Christian militia known as ‘anti-balaka’, fuelling unprecedented violence between communities that had lived side-by-side.

“I am the president of all Central Africans, without exception,” said Mayor Catherine Samba-Panza.

“I appeal to my anti-balaka and Seleka children to listen to me and lay down your weapons,” said Panza.

The 59-year-old called herself “the president of all Central Africans, without exclusion”, and said her top priority was “to stop people’s suffering, to restore security and the authority of the state across the country”.

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