Thomas Fessy reports from Bangui: ”In the absence of government, angry mobs now rule the streets”
Bangui mayor Catherine Samba-Panza has been elected interim president of the Central African Republic, making her the first woman to hold the post.
She beat her rival Desire Kolingba in the second round of voting by the interim parliament.
Meanwhile, EU foreign ministers agreed at a meeting on Monday to send troops to CAR, diplomatic sources said.
Violence has continued, with two Muslim men killed and burnt in the capital Bangui on Sunday.
Nearly a million people have been forced from their homes – 20% of the population – by the conflict between Muslims and Christians.
Ms Samba-Panza succeeds CAR’s first Muslim leader Michel Djotodia, who resigned on 10 January under pressure from regional leaders and the former colonial power, France, over his failure to curb the conflict.
She is a Christian but the successful businesswoman is seen as politically neutral.
She was accepted by both sides when she was proposed as Bangui’s mayor under the interim administration.
There are currently about 4,000 African troops and 1,600 French troops in CAR to help end the violence.
They will be bolstered by about 500 troops that EU foreign ministers have decided to deploy, AFP news agency reports.
Ms Samba-Panza won 75 votes in the run-off, against 53 for Mr Kolingba, the son of a former president.
The election went to a second round after Ms Samba-Panza failed to secure an outright majority in the first round.
Six other candidates were knocked out in the first round.
Cheers broke out in the National Transitional Council, which serves as an acting parliament, when Ms Samba-Panza’s victory was announced.
About 129 members of the 135-seat council took part in the secret ballot, AFP reports.
CAR has a Christian majority and a minority Muslim population.
Mr Djotodia seized power in a rebellion last March, leading to attacks and counter-attacks between members of the two groups.
About 1,000 people were killed in December alone.
Although the clashes seemed to die down immediately after Mr Djotodia quit, more violence emerged later.
In Sunday’s attack, a Christian mob killed two Muslims and set their bodies alight at a roundabout in the capital.
They told the BBC’s Thomas Fessy in Bangui that they were avenging the murder of a Christian. It is unclear whether the men had played any part in the violence or were targeted simply for being Muslim.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said it had taken 25 very seriously injured people to hospital in Bangui.
In a statement issued from its headquarters in Geneva, it added that fresh inter-communal violence had flared up in north and north-western areas of the country.
Red Cross workers had buried 50 bodies discovered over the past 48 hours in the north-west, it said.