Friday 19 January 2018

Central African Republic's leader flees rebel coup

Mike Pflanz

REBEL armies in the Central African Republic (CAR) seized the capital, including the presidential palace, in the latest in a string of coups, forcing the country's leader to flee with his family.

Francois Bozize, a former army officer who himself came to power in a coup 10 years ago, was last night believed to be in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo with his wife and close relatives.

French troops stationed in the country secured the international airport in the capital, Bangui. Paris advised its citizens in its former colony to stay indoors, and those planning to travel to the CAR to postpone their visit.

Reinforcements

A senior official said 350 extra troops had been sent to the CAR to ensure the security of French nationals and other foreigners.

The rebel Seleka alliance had dropped its demand that Mr Bozize step down in a January ceasefire agreement, but restarted its insurgency, accusing him of reneging on the deal.

Fierce fighting erupted in the city's northern suburbs before the Seleka troops moved into the city centre to take control of the presidential palace.

Six South African soldiers were killed on Saturday amid reports that they had been fighting as reinforcements alongside the CAR army. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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