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Central African Republic president, PM resign at summit: statement

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[January 10, 2014]  N'DJAMENA (Reuters)  Central African Republic's interim President Michel Djotodia and his prime minister have resigned, according to a statement issued after a two-day summit in neighboring Chad.

Regional leaders had put pressure on Djotodia to step down after he failed to halt months of inter-religious violence that has forced 1 million people from their homes.

Talks to decide a new leadership will take place in Bangui, Central African Republic's capital, at a later date, said the statement issued by Central African regional body CEEAC.

As news from the summit reached the capital, residents who had been calling for Djotodia to step down began celebrating. There was some sporadic gunfire.

Djotodia was swept to power last year when a loose rebel alliance known as Seleka seized the capital. However, months of abuses by his mainly Muslim rebels led to the creation of Christian defense militia and cycles of killings that left hundreds dead.

France rushed hundreds of troops to support African peacekeepers struggling to keep the peace in the former French colony late last year but violence has simmered.

(Reporting by Madjiasra Nako; writing by David Lewis; editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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