The Central African Republic's former army chief has surrendered to authorities in neighboring Chad, two days after fleeing his country amid allegations he planned to topple the government. General Francois Bozize may now face extradition to his country.
General Bozize and a handful of followers surrendered to authorities Friday in the southern Chadian city of Sarh, near the Central African Republic border.
CAR presidential spokesman Prosper Ndouba told VOA General Bozize and the other detainees will be brought Saturday to N'Djamena, the Chadian capital. He said the CAR government will request the general's extradition.
However, Mr. Ndouba again insisted that CAR President Ange-Felix Patasse will guarantee General Bozize's safety if he returns home of his own volition to face judicial authorities.
General Bozize's surrender ends his swift downfall from the upper echelons of power. It began October 26 when President Patasse dismissed him as army chief, without explanation.
Then, on November 2, he was summoned to testify before a panel investigating last May's failed coup attempt. However, soldiers belonging to General Bozize's ethnic Gbaya group stopped loyalist troops from enforcing the judicial panel's order.
A five-day armed standoff ensued in Bangui, the capital, before loyalist soldiers attacked and overran General Bozize's men. The former army chief fled the capital.
Less than two weeks earlier, he had been one of the Central African Republic's most powerful men, and was considered a close ally of President Patasse.
General Bozize was widely credited with helping defeat army mutinies in 1996, 1997 and this year.