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January 05, 2013

Reports: CAR Rebels Seize New Territory

by VOA News

Reports from the Central African Republic say a rebel coalition has captured at least one more town just days before they are set to begin negotiations with C.A.R. government officials.

Reports from the government and from local residents near the town of Bambari say the new seizures were in that area. The Associated Press quotes a resident of the nearby town of Alindao as saying it has been captured. If the reports are confirmed it would be the latest in a series of rebel seizures of towns and villages over the past month.

The new reports cast doubt on prospects for peace talks scheduled to start Tuesday in Libreville, Gabon.

​​On Friday the U.N. Security Council called on the rebels advancing on the Central African Republic's capital to stop their campaign and join negotiations to find a political solution to the impoverished country's problems.

The rebel coalition Seleka unites fighters from as many as four insurgent groups from the north that say the government went back on 2007 and 2008 peace accords that were supposed to pay rebels to disarm or integrate them into the national army. Seleka is demanding the resignation of President Francois Bozize.

The president says he is willing to form a coalition government, but will finish out his second elected term, which ends in 2016.