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CAR President Flees Capital as Rebels Take Bangui


President of the Central African Republic Francois Bozize speaks to the media at the presidential palace in Bangui, Central African Republic, January 2013.
Seleka rebels in Central African Republic (CAR) have seized control of the capital, Bangui, forcing President Francois Bozize to flee.
Witnesses reported heavy fighting in the city Sunday and say the rebels have taken over the presidential palace.
No one knows for sure where President Bozize is. Some reports say he fled across the border into the Democratic Republic of Congo, but DRC officials say he is not there.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says the United States is deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation in CAR. She urges the rebels to establish law and order and restore such basic services as water and electricity.
Seleka began its rebel offensive in December. It later reached a peace deal with the government, but accused President Bozize of breaking the agreement.
Bozize has led CAR since taking power in a 2003 coup. CAR has a history of coups and unrest since winning independence from France in 1960.
Seleka political spokesman Eric Massi told VOA French to Africa that President Bozize must leave CAR to bring peace.
France and South Africa say they plan to deploy more troops to CAR.