JNN 15 Aug 2014 Amid ongoing efforts to end the months-long sectarian violence in Central African Republic, a Muslim has been appointed as a Prime Minister for the first time since CAR’s independence from France in 1960 as a first step towards forming a more inclusive government.
The first Muslim PM, Mahamat Kamoun, served as a senior advisor to Seleka leader Michel Djotodia after becoming the president in March 2013.
Kamoun, 53, also served as the director general of the treasury during the presidency of Francois Bozize from 2003 to March 2013.
The appointment of the Muslim PM, by the interim Christian president Catherine Samba Panza, comes a month after signing ceasefire agreement between rival militants in the resources-rich country.
Choosing Kamoun as the first Muslim PM for CAR was rejected by Seleka militants who said that he doesn’t “represent” them.
“We have been very disappointed by this appointment,” Seleka spokesman Capt Ibrahim Nedjad was quoted by the BBC.
“It’s true that Kamoun worked with former President Michel Djotodia, but Seleka is well organized; Seleka has a political branch.”
CAR, a mineral-rich, landlocked country, descended into anarchy in March of 2013 when Seleka rebels ousted François Bozize, a Christian, who had come to power in the 2003 coup.
Earlier in January, Catherine Samba-Panza, the mayor of Bangui, was sworn in as CAR’s first female president.
She replaces Michel Djotodia, the country’s first Muslim president since its independence from France in 1960, who stepped down earlier this month due to international and regional pressure.
Over the past months, anti-balaka Christian militias have raided Muslim homes killing children and women and looting and vandalizing properties.
Along with killing, kidnapping, torture and arbitrary arrest and detention, in the war-torn CAR, a UN investigation found evidences of sexual violence.
According to the UN, more than 700,000 have been internally displaced since the eruption of violence in December 2012.
Inter-religious violence has claimed thousands of lives and displaced a million people in the population of 4.6 million, yet such clashes are unprecedented in the poor, landlocked country.