President Obama on Monday called on citizens of the Central African Republic to reject the ongoing sectarian violence.
The president’s message follows Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s order for the U.S. military to airlift foreign troops into the the republic. French troops and an international mission led by the African Union are currently providing humanitarian aid and trying to disarm fighters.
“I call on the transitional government to join these voices and to arrest those who are committing crimes,” the president said. “Individuals who are engaging in violence must be held accountable — in accordance with the law.”
The Central African Republic has seen a string of violence since Muslim rebels overthrew President Francois Bozize’s government in March and rebel leader Michel Djotodia was unanimously elected as the interim leader in April. Since being elected, Djotodia has had trouble controlling the forces that brought him to power.
Obama, in his message, emphasized the role of faith, tying his call for peace within the country to a rule “that is at the heart of all great faiths — that we treat other people the way we want to be treated ourselves.”