Bangui (Central African Republic): Gunfire erupted today in the Central African Republic’s capital Bangui, where protesters erected barricades after an announcement that ex-president Fra ncois Bozize was barred from running for election.
A French embassy text message sent to citizens said there were “barricades and gunfire” in at least eight districts in the city and advised French citizens “to avoid these areas”.
The unrest followed the Constitutional Court’s rejection of the exiled Bozize’s bid to run for president in December 27 elections.
The presidential and parliamentary polls have been expected to signal CAR’s return to normalcy after two years of sectarian violence between Christian and Muslim fighters that began after Bozize’s March 2013 ouster by a mainly Muslim rebel alliance.
A total of 30 candidates were cleared to run in the first round of the presidential vote by the transitional regime’s Constitutional Court, which rejected 15 applications, including Bozize’s.
A leader of the mainly Christian militia — known as the “anti-balaka” — Patrice-Edouard Ngaissona was also barred from running for the country’s top job.