A lawmaker fired into the air in the Central African Republic’s parliament on Monday after an altercation with a colleague as MPs prepared to vote for a new speaker.
Alfred Yekatom, who represents the southern M’baiki district and is a former militia leader, drew his weapon during the dispute, then fired the gun as he ran away.
Yekatom’s motive for shooting the gun, which sent MPs rushing to the exit, was not clear.
The parliament session was suspended for an hour while security forces searched every MP.
The lawmakers went on to elect an MP from western Baboua, Laurent Ngon-Baba, a former minister, in a near-unanimous vote of 112 in favour, with four blank ballots.
The vote came three days after a censure motion removed Karim Meckassoua, who represents a predominantly Muslim neighbourhood in Bangui.
After years of confrontation between Muslim and Christian groups in the majority Christian country, Meckassoua’s election in 2016 was seen as a symbol of reconciliation.
On Sunday Meckassoua said he would challenge his sacking in the courts, calling for his ouster not to be turned into a sectarian debate — while noting that 38 of the 41 deputies who voted against him were Christian.
Speaking after the vote, Ngon-Baba said: “We can no longer afford to make mistakes. We will immediately take steps, especially concerning the management of financial resources.”