Central African rebels overthrow president
BANGUI, Central African Republic — Rebels overthrew Central African Republic's president of a decade on Sunday, seizing the presidential palace and declaring that the desperately poor country has “opened a new page in its history.”
The country's president fled the capital, while extra French troops moved to secure the airport, officials said.
The rebels' invasion of the capital occurred two months after they had signed a peace agreement that would have let President Francois Bozize serve until 2016. That deal unraveled in recent days, prompting the insurgents' advance into Bangui and Bozize's departure to an unpublicized location.
Witnesses and an adviser to Bozize said rebel trucks were traveling throughout the town hours after the palace was seized. Former colonial power France confirmed the developments, issuing a statement that said French President Francois Hollande “has taken note of the departure of President Francois Bozize.”
“Central African Republic has just opened a new page in its history,” said a communique signed by Justin Kombo Moustapha, secretary-general of the alliance of rebel groups known as Seleka.
“The political committee of the Seleka coalition, made up of Central Africans of all kinds, calls on the population to remain calm and to prepare to welcome the revolutionary forces of Seleka,” it said.
Central African Republic, a nation of 4.5 million, has long been wracked by rebellions and power grabs. Bozize took power in 2003 after a rebellion, and his tenure has been marked by conflict with myriad armed groups.
The rebels reached the outskirts of Bangui late Saturday.
Heavy gunfire echoed through the city on Sunday as the fighters made their way to the presidential palace, though the president was not there.
“Bozize left the city this morning,” said Maximin Olouamat, a Bozize adviser.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Employees of Mercer County-based manufacturer among missing in Nepal
- Aftershocks terrify survivors of quake in Nepal that killed 2,500
- Mexicans pin hopes on anti-corruption measures approved by Congress
- Deadly earthquake devastates Nepal, triggers Mount Everest avalanche
- Senior officials are toppled in China’s anti-graft campaign
- Military draftees ignore Ukraine’s call to arms
- Nations vow to curb Arctic climate change
- Man who landed drone on Japanese PM’s office surrenders
- China says North Korea has 20 nuclear warheads
- Australians, Kiwis mark centenary of bloody battle