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CAR rebels seize territory, demand talks with government

CAR rebels seize territory, demand talks with government
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Rebels in the Central African Republic (CAR) say they remain open to dialogue with President Francois Bozize’s government and are not planning to advance to the capital Bangui.

The fighters, a coalition of various anti-govenrnment groups known as Seleka, began their offensive earlier this month and have taken control of more than 10 towns.

Seleka had said on Monday they would stop fighting if the President announced a ceasefire first, but military action continued.

The rebels seized the central town of Kaga Bandoro on Tuesday, around 300km north of the capital, despite the presence of foreign troops in place to support the government.

CAR, a French colony until 1960, has been plagued by insecurity since then. President Bozize took power in 2003 following a coup.

The rebels want the government to honour deals signed between 2007 and 2011 offering financial support and aid to fighters who laid down their arms.