Citizens of Central African Republic will vote on Wednesday in new elections they hope will bring them closer to ending years of inter-religious violence. Nathan Frandino reports.
As residents in Bangui line up to collect their voter cards, hopes are high that this week's elections will finally put an end to the violence that has dogged their country for nearly three years. (SOUNDBITE) (French) ANGELA DEVIS, BANGUI RESIDENT, SAYING: "There needs to be a major change. All the blood spilled, killing people here and there, it should not start again, we don't want that." Central African Republic will hold presidential and parliamentary elections on Wednesday. Violence broke out in early 2013 after Muslim Seleka rebels seized power. Abuses by the Selekas then fueled the rise of Christian anti-Balaka militias, who launched attacks against Muslim civilians. Thousands have been killed. And nearly a million have fled. Now United Nations peacekeepers patrol the streets, wary of violence that broke out at an referendum here earlier this month. At the National Elections Authority, spokesman Julius Rufin Ngoude-Baba says the agency is confident ahead of the vote. (SOUNDBITE) (French) ELECTIONS AUTHORITY SPOKESPERSON, JULIUS RUFIN NGOUDE-BABA, SAYING: "The ballot papers have been reissued, and those ballots are supposed to arrive in Bangui today. Every effort is being made to deploy them to the relevant constituencies so the election can go ahead on December 30, 2015." And whoever wins that day has a task ahead. Not only will the president have to disarm thousands of fighters loyal to rebel and militia leaders... the new leader will also have to rebuild and reunite the nation after years of sectarian violence and mistrust.