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Obama Urges Calm In Central African Republic

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President Barack Obama speaks about the new health care law, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013, in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington. The president said his signature health care law "is working and will work into the future." Obama said the benefits of the law have "gotten lost" in recent months as attention focused on the widespread problems that crippled the website where people can sign up for health insurance. (AP Photo/ Ev | ASSOCIATED PRESS

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (AP) — President Barack Obama is urging the people of the Central African Republic to remain calm amid mounting sectarian violence.

The White House says Obama taped the audio message Monday in Dakar, Senegal, as Air Force One was refueling on its way to Johannesburg for a memorial service honoring former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mandela died last week.

Obama addressed his remarks to the "proud citizens of the Central African Republic" and said they have the power "to choose a different path" than the violence that led to more than 400 deaths in two days of violence last week between Christians and Muslims.

Obama says he joins Muslim and Christian leaders in calling for calm and peace and says those who are committing crimes should be arrested.

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