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Rebels launch attacks on Central African Republic capital

DEVELOPING HISTORY

Security forces in CAR repel two attacks by armed groups seeking to seize the capital Bangui on Wednesday, the prime minister said.

Rebel forces in the Central African Republic launched two attacks on the outskirts of the capital Bangui on Wednesday that were repulsed, officials said.

The simultaneous dawn assaults on army units were the first near the capital since President Faustin Archange Touadera was re-elected in a December ballot.

The fighting was still ongoing, said UN MINUSCA mission spokesperson Abdoulaziz Fall, who spoke only of an attack.

A coalition of armed rebel groups – accused of an attempted coup after their offensive to disrupt presidential elections last month – has vowed to march on Bangui.

Wednesday’s dawn attacks, 9 km and 12 km from the capital, targeted two army brigades but rebel forces were pushed back, Interior Minister Henri Wanzet Linguissara told the agency AFP press release.

Prime Minister Firmin Ngrebada confirmed in a Facebook post that the attacks were thwarted.

These attacks are the most recent since the alliance of the six most powerful rebel groups in Central Africa that control two-thirds of the country launched an offensive to prevent Touadera’s re-election.

He won the vote on December 27 and was declared the winner on January 4.

The rebels have since carried out sporadic attacks, mainly in towns far from the capital, which have been repelled by UN peacekeepers and Central African troops, as well as Rwandan soldiers and Russian paramilitaries sent to help.

Central African prosecutors have opened an investigation into former President François Bozize, whom the government accuses of plotting a coup with the help of armed groups.

Bozize, who denies the allegations, came to power in a coup in 2003 before being overthrown in 2013, after which the country descended into sectarian conflict.




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