News / Africa

CAR Rebels Threaten Capital, Regional Troops Send Reinforcements

Central African Republic soldiers walk near a taxi station in Bangui, December 31, 2012.
Central African Republic soldiers walk near a taxi station in Bangui, December 31, 2012.
Anne Look
Rebels in the Central African Republic continue to threaten the capital, Bangui, as regional leaders work on opening peace talks in January, while deploying troop reinforcements to the frontline.  

Rebels in the Central African Republic say President Francois Bozize must go.  Their Paris-based spokesman told French television on Monday that they will push south to take Damara, about 75 kilometers from Bangui, if they are attacked.

Damara is the frontline defense for the capital.

About six dozen soldiers from Congo-Brazzaville arrived on Monday in Bangui to reinforce the Central African regional peacekeeping force, FOMAC, which is backing up government troops.  Gabon, Chad and Cameroon are also sending in reinforcements.

Congo's ambassador in Bangui, Gabriel Enteha Ebia says the rebels understand that they must stop their advance on Damara.  If FOMAC troops are attacked, the ambassador says they will defend themselves and prevent the rebels from taking the area.

The rebel group Seleka began its lightning offensive in the north on December 10.  On Saturday, the rebels took the city of Sibut, 186 kilometers from the capital.

Government troops have been outmatched.  They were unable to retake the city of Bambari on Friday.

Analysts say government forces did not have a strong presence in the now occupied areas. They say it is unclear how the rebels might fare against regional troops massing in Damara.

Residents of Bangui are anxiously celebrating the new year.  The capital is under strict curfew from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m.

On Sunday, President Bozize said he is willing to negotiate with the rebels without conditions, and that he would form a national unity government and not run for a third term in 2016.

A rebel spokesman said that they are open to talks, but under certain conditions, including the release of prisoners.

Seleka unites fighters from as many as four rebel groups in the north.  The rebels say the government failed to follow through on peace accords signed between 2007 and 2011 that included paying rebel fighters to disarm and integrating them into the army or back into civilian life.

The Central African Republic has been plagued by insecurity for decades.  President Bozize, a former army chief of staff, came to power during in 2003 coup d'etat.   

 


  • Soldiers patrol a street in Bangui, Central African Republic, January 1, 2013.
  • An end-of-year sign in French reading "happy holidays" hangs over a largely empty street in the capital Bangui, Central African Republic, January 1, 2013.
  • A bushmeat seller in the market in the Bimbo neighborhood of the capital Bangui, Central African Republic, January 1, 2013.
  • Soldiers from the Congolese contingent of the Central African Multinational Force (FOMAC) arrive at an airport in Bangui, December 31, 2012.
  • People wait in line at the BSIC bank in in Bangui, Central African Republic, December 31, 2012.
  • Central African Republic soldiers walk near a taxi station in Bangui, December 31, 2012.
  • A Central African Republic soldier walks past a vendor on a street in Bangui, December 31, 2012.
  • A security guard sits near a closed shop in Bangui, Central African Republic, December 31, 2012.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs