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Rebel leader names himself president of Central African Republic

Rebel leader names himself president of Central African Republic
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A leader of the Seleka rebel coalition has named himself as president of the Central African Republic, according to a spokesman for the group.

President Francois Bozize has fled the country and has sought refuge in Cameroon, it was confirmed by officials in Cameroon. Seleka accuse Bozize of breaking a power-sharing agreement made in January.

The rebels say that, for the most part, the new government will stay the same, with the prime minister remaining in place and a small cabinet re-shuffle.

China is offering its assistance to the African country, which has been rocked by coups and rebellions since gaining independence from France in 1960.

Spokesman from China’s Foreign Ministry Hong Lei said: “China will play a further constructive role with the international community to bring peace and stability to the Central African Republic.”

The Seleka rebel coalition seized the capital Bangui on Sunday.

Thirteen South African soldiers, who were part of deployment to help keep the peace, died in the fighting.

France has sent an additional 300 soldiers to bolster the 250 already there. The troops are meant to protect French nationals and diplomatic buildings.

The Central African Republic has been suspended from the African Union. Condemning the actions of Seleka, the regional bloc says it will also issue sanctions against the rebels.