Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Donors pledge millions at Uganda refugee summit

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Depp plumbs depths of bad taste

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

France's new frontman, America's absent center, May's Brexit gambit, Saudi royal reshuffle, after Mosul & Raqqa fall

Read more

REVISITED

Senegal’s Casamance hopes for new era of peace

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

FARC disarmament a 'historic day' for Colombia, says president

Read more

FASHION

Cruise collections: All aboard for Dior and Chanel's latest fashions

Read more

ENCORE!

Colombia comes to France

Read more

#THE 51%

The last taboo: Helping women and girls. Period.

Read more

DOWN TO EARTH

Who benefits when the ice caps melt?

Read more

Africa

CAR rebels defeat African forces on march to capital

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-03-22

Rebels in the Central African Republic were advancing on the capital Bangui on Friday after overwhelming a multinational African force at a key checkpoint some 75 kilometres north of the capital, a military source told AFP.

Rebels in the Central African Republic were closing in on the capital Bangui on Friday afternoon after forcing their way through a checkpoint outside the city manned by international forces, AFP reported.

The advance came a day after leaders of the Seleka rebel alliance rejected a peace offer from the country’s president.

In Bangui, panicked residents ran through the streets and shops were closed, while schools sent children home after national radio announced the rebel advances.

The rebels from the Seleka coalition had shot their way through the Damara checkpoint, some 75 kilometres north of the capital, late on Friday morning, according to a source in the Multinational Force of Central Africa (FOMAC), which was manning the roadblock.

"The rebels stormed the checkpoint and passed through... There were shots but no wounded," the unnamed source told AFP. "They are on the road to Bangui. We're on the highest alert."

A spokesman for the Seleka rebel alliance said that since pushing through the checkpoint at Damara, the alliance’s fighters were now “about 22 km from the outskirts of Bangui.”

“Our objective is to take Bangui today,” the spokesman told Reuters. “We have 2,000 men on the ground and some have slipped into the capital.”

A regional peacekeeping force from neighbouring central African states had established Damara as a “red line” for the Seleka not to cross when they bore down on the capital last year.

But residents in Damara said the peacekeepers had simply stood aside to allow the rebels to take the town on Friday.

“The regional Central African forces who were here ran away. Only the Chadians remained and they held talks with the rebels,” Bienvenue Yakesse, an inhabitant of Damara, told Reuters by telephone. “The rebels now occupy the whole town.”

A senior official with the regional peacekeeping force said their mandate did not allow them to intervene unless attacked.

“There is not much resistance from the Central African army. Bangui could fall in a couple of hours,” the official, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

 

Date created : 2013-03-22

  • CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

    Rebels gain key posts in new Central African Republic government

    Read more

  • CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

    CAR rebels agree to ceasefire, unity govt under Bozize

    Read more

  • CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

    CAR rebels seize two more towns on march to capital

    Read more

COMMENT(S)