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Tuesday, 5 June, 2001, 09:44 GMT 10:44 UK
Search for CAR coup leader
General Andre Kolingba
Kolingba: Man with a price on his head
President Ange-Felix Patasse of the Central African Republic has offered a reward for the capture of the man he blames for last Monday's foiled coup.

The coup attempt led to a week of violence on the streets of the capital, Bangui.

The president has put a price on Kolingba's head... to anyone who can deliver him dead or alive

Presidential spokesman
The president's spokesman Prosper Ndouba told AFP that Mr Patasse "has put a price on [General Andre] Kolingba's head with a reward of CFA Francs 25m [$38,000] to anyone who can deliver him dead or alive."

The whereabouts of General Kolingba are unknown but the president's spokesman was confident that he would soon be caught.

General Kolingba, who headed a military government in CAR from 1981 to 1993, admitted last week that he was involved in last Monday's attack on the president's residence but said it was not a coup attempt.

On Tuesday, gunfire was still heard in the capital, and residents for the most part remained indoors despite assurances from the government that the streets were now safe.

Mopping up

Meanwhile the government has deployed troops to stop looting in southern parts of Bangui, where thousands fled their homes during last week's fighting.

It has called on the remaining rebels to give themselves up, saying it is only a matter of time before they are captured.

On Sunday, President Patasse claimed victory over coup forces after days of house-to-house fighting in Bangui.

Soldiers have put the death toll in fighting in the hundreds, and the city is strewn with bodies.

Mortars and machine guns sounded for a sixth day on Sunday, with Libyan tanks and troops and Congo rebels fighting alongside government soldiers in what authorities called a mopping-up operation.

Mr Patasse made a broadcast to urge any opposition forces still hiding to give up.

Coup forces "should lay down their arms and surrender to avoid further bloodshed," Mr Patasse declared over Radio Peace and Liberty, which the government hastily inaugurated after the rebel forces seized broadcast equipment from state-run radio and TV.

Rocket fire

Mr Kolingba's home was levelled, razed by a rain of mortar and rocket fire on Saturday.

President Patasse
Patasse urged remaining rebels to surrender
Some soldiers said government forces had captured and arrested him at the time, but the government denied this.

Soldiers fired into the air as civilians waved palm fronds, beat drums and sang after days of cowering in their homes.

Crowds cried for more blood from Mr Kolingba's ethnic group, chanting "Kill the Yacoma!"

Military sources said most of those killed so far were from the Yacoma tribe.


The bloodshed in Bangui started on 28 May when a rebel unit within the country's insurrection-plagued army opened fire on Mr Patasse's villa with mortars and automatic weapons.

At least seven presidential guards and the head of the nation's paramilitary police were killed in the first hours.

Libya, courting support in Africa, flew in tanks and hundreds of troops in the government's behalf.

Jean-Pierre Bemba, head of one of the two major rebel movements in neighbouring Congo, also sent troops across the border to support Mr Patasse.

The government has already apologised for what it acknowledged were excesses by the military in quelling the coup.

Disgruntled soldiers, complaining of low pay, have repeatedly rebelled against Mr Patasse since 1996.

The United Nations ended a peacekeeping mission to the country last year.

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See also:

03 Jun 01 | Africa
Army occupy CAR general's house
02 Jun 01 | Africa
Troops regain control in CAR
29 May 01 | Africa
Civilians flee Bangui fighting
28 May 01 | Africa
CAR 'coup attempt' fails
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