* President Djotodia calls for exiles to return
* U.S. says does not recognise his legitimacy
* South Africa's Zuma to attend Central African summit
By Ange Aboa
BANGUI, March 30 Central African Republic's new
leader Michel Djotodia, facing international isolation after
seizing power, said on Saturday he would not take reprisals
against rivals and called on those who fled abroad to return.
The United States said on Saturday it did not recognise
Djotodia, who toppled President Francois Bozize on March 24
after leading thousands of his Seleka rebels into the
mineral-rich nation's capital Bangui, triggering days of
"I make a patriotic and brotherly appeal for our countrymen,
who have chosen the path of exile, to return," the former civil
servant turned self-declared president told several thousand
cheering supporters near the presidential palace.
"There will be no witch hunt, because we must establish
tolerance, dialogue and forgiveness," he said.
Though violence in the riverside capital has ebbed, Djotodia
said looters would face justice and called for international
help, particularly from former colonial master France.
But the takeover has been condemned internationally. The
African Union suspended Central African Republic and imposed
sanctions on Seleka leaders, including Djotodia, this week.
France and the United States say the rebels should adhere to
a power-sharing deal signed in Gabon's capital Libreville in
January that mapped out a transition to elections in 2016 in
which Bozize was forbidden from running.
Djotodia has pledged to act in the spirit of the agreement
and said on Friday he would step down in 2016. But Washington on
Saturday said Nicolas Tiangaye, named prime minister under the
Libreville agreement, was now the only legal head of government.
"We strongly condemn the illegitimate seizure of power by
force by the Seleka rebel alliance, Michel Djotodia's
self-appointment as president, and his suspension of the
constitution and National Assembly," read a statement from State
Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland
Bozize seized power in a 2003 coup but his failure to keep
promises of power sharing after winning disputed 2011 polls led
to the offensive by five rebel groups known as Seleka, which
means "alliance" in the Sango language.
Chadian President Idriss Deby, chair of the 10-nation
Economic Community of Central African States, has called a
summit in N'Djamena on April 3 to discuss the crisis.
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma has been invited and
will attend the meeting, spokesman Mac Maharaj said on Saturday.
The opposition in South Africa and analysts have asked why a
South African military training mission suffered 13 deaths in
Central African Republic last weekend as its members fought
against rebels alongside government troops.
South African media suggested the soldiers were defending
mining interests in a country rich in diamonds, uranium and oil,
but Pretoria officials denied this. They say 400 troops were
present due to a 2007 bilateral defence accord with Bozize.
On Friday, Djotodia, responding to questions about resource
licences awarded to Chinese and South African firms by Bozize,
said he would review resource deals signed by the previous
(Writing by Joe Bavier and Pascal Fletcher; Editing by Jason