Rebels Take Central African Republic Capital, Bozizé Flees

French Troops Still Hold Airport

by Jason Ditz, March 24, 2013

Additional deployments of French troops were announced over the weekend, and their military retains control of the airport in the capital city of Bangui, but the rest of the capital, and indeed the Central African Republic (CAR) as a whole, seems to have fallen out of the hands of the Bozizé junta and into rebel control.

There was no news of significant fighting in Bangui or elsewhere, and President Bozizé, in power since a 2003 military coup, has reportedly fled the country to greener pastures. His whereabouts are unknown.

Rebel commander Col. Djouma Narkoyo reported that his troops have seized the presidential palace, and the Bozizé was simply “not there.” The rest of his forces seem to have fanned out around the city to celebrate a victory.

The rebel Seleka forces, were basically the leftovers of the rebels that resisted the 2003 coup, and they reformed after then-Maj. Gen. Bozizé reneged on pledges to share power. He agreed to a peace deal with them again in January, but almost immediately reneged on that as well, sparking the latest rout of his forces.

France has long propped up Bozizé as their dictator-of-choice in the nation, but is reportedly “fed up” with his inability to keep from sparking new rebellions every few months. Despite adding troops to the country, it doesn’t look as though France will attempt to restore the ousted ruler, and will instead just focus on keeping the airport ready to accept French citizens who want to flee the latest outbreak of fighting.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz