C. African rebels capture 2 towns: minister
AFPBANGUI, Central African Republic--Rebels in the Central African Republic captured two more towns overnight, Territorial Administration Minister Josue Binoua told AFP on Saturday.
January 6, 2013, 12:05 am TWN
“The rebels took two towns near Bambari,” a town already under the control of the Seleka rebel coalition, Binoua said. “This shows their intent to wage war even during negotiations.”
The central African regional bloc CEEAC hopes to host talks between the rebels and President Francois Bozize in Gabon from Tuesday, negotiations that have the support of the United States and the U.N. Security Council.
But a rebel spokesman told AFP on Friday that the insurgents had not been informed of the initiative, dashing hopes that the negotiations could resolve the nearly month-long crisis in the impoverished, chronically unstable nation.
The rebels, who charge that Bozize's government has not abided by terms of earlier peace deals, launched an offensive on Dec. 10 in the north and, easily over-running an ill-equipped and poorly-trained army, marched across a large part of the country before halting their push within striking distance of the capital Bangui, in the south.
The unrest has alarmed the country's neighbors and the international community, with the UN Security Council twice calling on Seleka to halt its offensive and engage in peace talks.
Washington on Friday urged all sides to use the talks proposed by the Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC) as an opportunity “to really try to negotiate a comprehensive, inclusive, political resolution.”