by Staff Writers
Bangui, Central African Republic (AFP) Nov 4, 2015
Scores of parliamentarians wearing black joined marchers Wednesday in the strife-hit Central African Republic (CAR) to demand weapons for the country's army to stop mounting sectarian violence.
In black to symbolise mourning, a large crowd walked several kilometres (miles) from parliament to a square in the capital Bangui, singing the country's national anthem, "The Renaissance" before handing foreign diplomats their demands.
"We want the government to take concrete action," said Alexandre-Ferdinand Nguendet, who heads the transitional parliament. "It's up to the government and the international community" to allow the rearmament "of our defence and security forces within a week."
Dozens of people have been killed in past weeks and scores of homes torched and looted in a recent flare-up of sectarian clashes between Christians and Muslims.
A visit by Pope Francis later this month remains on the cards, the Vatican said this week, but the trip will have to be cancelled if fighting in the capital intensifies.
One in 10 Central Africans -- 460,000 people -- have fled the country since the start of violence in 2013, triggered by the ouster of then president Francois Bozize, a Christian, by mainly Muslim Seleka rebels.
The army has been largely ineffective since, with security in the hands of a 10,000-strong MINUSCA force of French and UN peacekeepers.
Interim president Catherine Samba-Panza earlier this week urged the peacekeepers to take "vigorous action" to stop mounting unrest.
But residents of Bangui complain that international troops are not doing enough to stop the violence.
Egypt's Sisi calls for NATO help in Libya 'vacuum'
Sisi was quoted in British newspaper the Daily Telegraph ahead of a visit to London in which he is to discuss security co-operation with Prime Minister David Cameron.
"Libya is a danger that threatens all of us. If there is no government then this only creates a vacuum where extremists can prosper," Sisi said, according to the Telegraph.
"It was a mission that was not completely accomplished... We must support all efforts to help the Libyan people and the Libyan economy."
Libya has descended into chaos since longtime dictator Kadhafi was ousted in 2011 and killed in the midst of an uprising supported by NATO states.
Chronic insecurity, with armed groups battling to control its energy resources and two governments vying for power, has made Libya a key launching point for people smugglers feeding Europe's migrant crisis by sending boatloads of people across the Mediterranean.
"We need to stop the flow of funds and weapons and foreign fighters to the extremists. All the members of NATO -- including Britain -- who took part in the mission to overthrow Kadhafi need to give their help," Sisi said.
It is Sisi's first visit to Britain since his 2013 toppling of Egypt's first freely elected civilian leader Mohamed Morsi, whose divisive 12-month rule had drawn mass protests.
In the interview, Sisi dismissed claims that a Russian airliner that crashed in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula could have been brought down by a missile or bomb as "unfounded speculation".
He also criticised Western efforts to combat Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, according to the Telegraph, saying: "The map of extremism and instability is expanding and not retreating. We need to reassess our priorities."
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