Obama Presses for End to Violence in Central African Republic

The president says the country could “choose a different path.”

US President Barack Obama speaks on healthcare during the White House Youth Summit at the White House on December 4, 2013 in Washington, DC. 
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Jordain Carney
Dec. 10, 2013, 2:27 a.m.

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.” 

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