N'DJAMENA, April 18 Leaders of the Central
Africa regional bloc recognised Michel Djotodia on Thursday as
transitional head of the Central African Republic but stopped
short of embracing him as president, conveying their concern
about his taking of power by force.
Djotodia led thousands of rebel fighters from the Seleka
coalition into the riverside capital of the mineral-rich but
chronically unstable country on March 24, overthrowing President
African heads of state and Western powers had refused to
recognise him as the country's legitimate leader and called for
the creation of a transitional council to lead the nation to
elections within 18 months.
After a meeting in the Chadian capital N'Djamena on
Thursday, Central African heads of state said they had taken
note of Djotodia's election last weekend by the transitional
council in Bangui acting as a parliament.
"Mr Djotodia will not be called president of the republic,
but head of state of the transition," Chadian President Idriss
Deby said after the meeting, which included a delegation
representing the transition government.
The regional leaders, who have been mediating in Central
African Republic's crisis to overcome feuding among its various
factions, also adopted a framework for Bangui's transitional
rule, increasing the number of council members to 130 from 105.
Under the roadmap, Djotodia will lead the transition but not
be eligible to run for the presidency at the end of it.
Djotodia has said improving security in the ramshackle
capital and across the impoverished, landlocked nation would be
his main priority during the transition period.
Seleka launched its insurgency in early December, accusing
Bozize of reneging on a 2007 peace deal by failing to make
promised payments to rebels who had help him seize power in 2003
and to integrate them into the regular army.
Calm has yet to return in Bangui since last month's coup as
Seleka fighters have repeatedly clashed with youths loyal to the
ousted former president. At least 13 people were killed and
dozens wounded in violence on Tuesday.
A mix of local rebellions, banditry, ethnic tensions and
spillover of conflicts from neighbouring Chad, Sudan and
Democratic Republic of Congo have long undermined efforts to
stabilise Central African Republic, which has suffered from
misrule and lawlessness since independence from France in 1960.
(Reporting by Madjiasra Nako; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by