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Last Updated:  Thursday, 20 March, 2003, 02:36 GMT
CAR opposition backs coup leader
Troops arrive from Chad
Chad has sent troops to join peacekeepers
The victorious rebel leader in the Central African Republic, General Francois Bozize, has won the support of opposition politicians.

In a statement, a coalition of political parties welcomed the change of leadership and firmly opposed any return to power by the constitutional President, Ange-Felix Patasse.

We believe that the Central African Republic can trust a man who says the kind of thing that we have heard
Rodolphe Adada
Congo's Foreign Minister

General Bozize has already been praised by the visiting Congolese Foreign Minister, Rodolphe Adada.

General Bozize overthrew the elected government on Saturday and suspended the constitution.

The African Union has condemned the coup, saying it will not recognise governments which come to power unconstitutionally.

Some officials have suggested the CAR might be suspended.

France said the coup was "absolutely unacceptable".

Presidential silence

Meanwhile, Chad has sent an extra 100 troops to bolster the regional peacekeeping force in Bangui.

General Bozize had appealed for extra peacekeepers in the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (Cemac) force to help restore order and end looting.

He said they would allow new presidential elections to be held as quickly as possible and parliamentary elections "if necessary".

The World Food Programme said crowds of hungry people have looted tons of food from their warehouses after they over-powered a head guard, broke the gates and rushed in. It has launched a new appeal for food aid.

After meeting General Bozize, Congo's Mr Adada said: "He spoke of openness, of reconciliation. Heads of state are most interested in this vision, because this country has suffered a great deal from disunity."

"We believe that the Central African Republic can trust a man who says the kind of thing that we have heard," said Mr Adada, whose country currently chairs Cemac.

African Union Secretary General Amara Essy strongly denounced the coup and said that the organisation would meet shortly to discuss how to respond to the situation.

No word has so far been heard from the ousted president who has taken refuge in neighbouring Cameroon.

CAR: A classic African coup
18 Mar 03 |  Africa
Fear grips looted Bangui
18 Mar 03 |  Africa
Country profile: Central African Republic
05 Jul 02 |  Country profiles

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