BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Somali Swahili French Great Lakes Hausa Portugeuse

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Africa  
News Front Page
Middle East
South Asia
Talking Point
Country Profiles
In Depth
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
Monday, 28 October, 2002, 08:55 GMT
Fighting resumes in CAR
President Ange-Felix Patasse
Nothing has been heard from President Patasse
Reports from the Central African Republic (CAR) say fighting has resumed in the capital, Bangui, between government soldiers and fighters loyal to a former army chief, Francois Bozize.

The BBC's Joseph Benamse in Bangui says sporadic shooting has been heard in the city.

More than 30 people have been killed in the fighting that began on Friday, and more than 50,000 people have fled their homes.

The government of the CAR has urged the rebels to surrender, and said fighters from Chad were among the dead rebels.

General Bozize has called on President Ange-Felix Patasse to begin a dialogue with the opposition or step down.


On Sunday, the CAR Government launched an offensive in northern districts of Bangui, in an effort to dislodge the rebels, who control a third of the city.

Communication Minister Gabriel Jean Edouard Koyambounou said loyalist forces had killed a number of rebels, some of them fighters from neighbouring Chad.

Bangui residents reported seeing plumes of smoke early on Sunday, as two military aircraft attacked northern districts of the city.

Fighting was also reported near the official residence of President Ange-Felix Patasse, which is protected by both government forces and Libyan troops.

Our correspondent says the whereabouts of President Patasse are unknown, but the army says he is in a place of safety.

The fighting erupted after the rebels crossed the border to the north in Chad and attacked several towns on Friday.

In an interview with the BBC, General Bozize confirmed that his supporters were behind the rebellion and called on President Patasse to begin a dialogue or step down.

General Bozize was the CAR's army chief until his dismissal a year ago. He then went to Chad with a group of supporters.

Three weeks ago General Bozize was given refuge by France - the former colonial power of both Chad and the CAR - in an effort to reduce tensions between the two countries.

But General Bozize returned to Chad on Sunday, according to the French AFP news agency.

Spate of coups

The CAR Government forces are backed by about 200 Libyan soldiers, as well as a newly-deployed contingent from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ex-army chief Francois Bozize
Bozize had been exiled to France
France on Sunday condemned the uprising, and urged rebel forces to lay down their arms.

There have been several attempts to topple President Patasse in recent years, as well as mutinies by soldiers demanding their pay.

Libya sent troops into the CAR to put down a coup in May 2001, and they have remained there ever since.

At a regional summit in Gabon earlier this month, African leaders agreed to send soldiers to replace the Libyan forces.

The BBC's Joseph Benase reports from Bangui
"The road to the border is now controlled by the rebels"
CAR expert Paul Melly
"There is a history of cross border wrangling"
Central African Republic

Key stories:


See also:

25 Oct 02 | Africa
23 Oct 02 | Africa
26 Aug 02 | Africa
04 Feb 02 | Africa
05 Jul 02 | Country profiles
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Africa stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Africa stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |