March 26 - The leader of rebels in Central African Republic pledged to name a power-sharing government to defuse international criticism of a coup that killed 13 South African soldiers, plunging the nation into chaos. Sarah Toms reports.
Seleka rebels patrol the deserted streets of Bangui, the capital of the Central African Repubic. Despite a curfew, looters and armed gangs have been roaming the streets. While the rebels have been accused of pillaging and killings, they claim there have been allegations of abuses on the government's side. (SOUNDBITE) (French) SELEKA GENERAL, ARDA AHKOMA, SAYING: "That's true, there is a lot of looting, but it's not the Seleka people that do that, it's the others, who are well armed and organised by President (Francois) Bozize." About 5,000 Seleka fighters swept into Bangui on Sunday after the collapse of a power sharing deal. Thirteen South African soldiers were killed in the nine hour battle. And now the presidential palace is empty after ousted leader Francois Bozize fled to neighbouring Cameroon. French troops with tanks guard the international airport and organise checkpoints. Regional peace keepers say the leader of the rebel coalition appealed for help in restoring order. (SOUNDBITE) (French) GENERAL JEAN FELIX AKAGA, COMMANDER OF CENTRAL AFRICAN MULTINATIONAL FORCES (FOMAC), SAYING: "I'll talk primarily about the security situation and I can say it's improving. There's a lot still left to do, there are still many people walking around with weapons and we aren't yet able to make the difference between Seleka personnel and civilians in posession of weapons." The mineral rich country has been unstable since its independence from France in 1960. The removal of Bozize, who himself seized power in a coup, is just the latest in a string of rebellions in one of the least developed countries in the world.