Groups of rebels who had ruled Central African Republic have been escorted from a military base. The departure of the former Seleka fighters was greeted with screams of joy from the crowd that gathered to watch them leave.

The rebels became deeply unpopular after they killed and tortured civilians after seizing power in March 2013. Their leader Michel Djotodia stepped down as president earlier this month and went into exile in Benin.

Seleka brought Djotodia to power, but he was never able to keep the fighters under control, prompting the formation of the mostly Christian anti-Balaka militia.

More than 1,000 people were killed during several days of violence in December alone, and nearly a million people have been forced to flee their homes, with 100,000 living in and around the Bangui airport.