Africa

Central African Republic: Ex-militia leader wins top football post

Central African Republic's football federation chief Patrice Edouard Ngaissona attends the 40th CAF ordinary general assembly in the Moroccan city of Casablanca on February 2, 2018 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Patrice Edouard Ngaissona described himself as the political co-ordinator of the anti-Balaka

A former militia leader from the Central African Republic (CAR) has been elected to the executive committee of African football's governing body.

Patrice Edouard Ngaissona was the self-declared political co-ordinator of the anti-Balaka militias.

In 2015 he was barred from running for CAR president because of his alleged role in atrocities, which he denies.

Mr Ngaissona was elected to the board of the Confederation of African Football (Caf) at a meeting in Morocco.

He is also a former head of the CAR's football federation and briefly served as sports minister.

Mr Ngaissona has denied claims by human rights groups that he was involved in atrocities in the CAR.

"If the allegations were true, I wouldn't be here today," he told AFP news agency on Friday.

He said he didn't want to "mix politics and sport", adding: "Everything I've done has been for the good of my country."

Caf delegates, meeting in Casablanca, elected Mr Ngaissona to represent the Central Zone over his Gabonese rival, Pierre Alain Mounguengui.

His candidacy was approved in January.

The CAR, a former French colony, was plunged into turmoil in 2013 when Muslim rebels from the Seleka group seized power in the majority Christian country.

A band of mostly Christian militias, called the anti-Balaka, rose up to counter the Seleka.

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