A rebel alliance in the Central African Republic has taken control of another town in Central African Republic.
The rebel coalition known as Seleka captured the town of Batangafo on Thursday, 300 kilometers north of the capital, Bangui. It is the seventh town that rebel fighters have seized in the past week.
The rebels say their fast-moving offensive is aimed at ousting President Francois Bozize. On Wednesday the United Nations Security Council condemned the attacks, saying the fighting is a threat to civilians and C.A.R. stability.
Forces from neighboring Chad have arrived in the Central African Republic to help fight the rebellion. Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno is a close ally of Bozize, who asked for the military assistance.
The French news agency reports that Chad is offering to host talks Friday between the rebels and C.A.R. government officials.
In November 2010, Chad sent forces to C.A.R. to drive out Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace rebels from the northeastern town of Birao.
African Union chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has also expressed concern about the situation in C.A.R., and condemned the rebels' advance on populated areas. She said the AU is determined to impose sanctions on those responsible for armed attacks.
The Security Council has demanded that the armed groups pull out of captured cities, end hostilities and halt any advance on Bangui, located in the southern C.A.R. along the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The council called on both government and rebels to renew their commitment to a national reconciliation process that followed a 2008 peace agreement.
Rebels have threatened to overthrow Bozize if he fails to fully implement a 2007 peace deal. In a statement Monday, the group demanded, among other things, that the government free political prisoners and pay rebel soldiers money it had promised if they surrendered their weapons.
A low-level insurgency has targeted Bozize almost since the day he first took power in the C.A.R., a mineral-rich former French colony.
Article by VOA News