- POSTED: 12 Jan 2014 04:09
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Benin on Saturday said it hoped the arrival of the Central African Republic's embattled former president would help restore calm to the troubled nation, after he quit under pressure from regional leaders.
COTONOU: Benin on Saturday said it hoped the arrival of the Central African Republic's embattled former president would help restore calm to the troubled nation, after he quit under pressure from regional leaders.
Michel Djotodia, who resigned with his prime minister Nicolas Tiangaye, touched down in Cotonou at 5:05 pm local time (1605 GMT) on a flight from the Chadian capital, N'Djamena.
He was met off the plane by Benin's Foreign Minister, Nassirou Bako Arifari, who earlier confirmed that Djotodia was heading to the tiny west African republic at the request of central African states.
Djotodia and Arifari shook hands but the former head of state, in casual clothes and looking relaxed, made no comment to waiting journalists, an AFP reporter at the airport said.
He later left in a black, chauffeur-driven car but his destination was unknown, the reporter added.
The former rebel leader, whose wife has Benin nationality, has a number of links to the tiny west African nation.
His family is already in the country and he is said to visit regularly, according to sources in his homeland.
Djotodia was previously exiled and imprisoned in Benin at the request of the man he deposed in March last year, Francois Bozize.
In a statement, Benin's foreign affairs ministry said that it had been asked to receive him by the member states of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).
Djotodia and Tiangaye stepped down after an extraordinary meeting of the body in N'Djamena on Friday.
"In doing so, the government of the Republic of Benin intends to contribute to the restoration of peace, security and stability" in the Central African Republic, the statement said.
The arrival was the chance for Benin to make a "brotherly" appeal to all citizens of the violence-wracked country to use dialogue to create "a lasting peace and ensure their country's development".
The ministry made no comment when asked by AFP to clarify Djotodia's official status in Benin.
The departure of Djotodia and Tiangaye had raised hopes of an end to deadly violence in the impoverished state but there was more unrest and looting in the capital Bangui overnight.