The interim president of the Central African Republic steps down today at a meeting of regional leaders in Chad in a move it is hoped will end immediate hostilities in the impoverished landlocked nation.
Michel Djotodia has failed to calm religious violence since seizing power in March, and has lost control of many of his Muslim Seleka rebels, some of whom have ended up fighting the Christian community, which has formed militias of its own.
A second meeting in Bangui on Saturday will finalise details for a transition of power, without which those fighting say they will not sit down and talk.
“What I’d like is for the president to resign because from the moment he took power we have only seen death and blood. And the country is flat-lining. The country hasn’t advanced, and state workers are suffering,” said one former soldier.
“The resignation of our president is the only solution to these problems because the Christian militias demand the head of state goes in order to cease hostilities,” said a mining engineer.
Some one million people have been displaced by the fighting in the country, which has raised fears of a Rwanda-style genocide between the two communities.