CAR rebels urged join peace talks

Seleka rebels in the CAR have been encouraged to participate in peace talks to avoid more violence.

Rebels of the SELEKA coalition in the Central African Republic patrol on a road 12kms from the city of Damar, on January 10, 2013. Picture: AFP

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC - Within striking range of the capital Bangui rebels in the Central African Republic (CAR) are being urged to speak to the government and avoid a bloodbath.

Only a small contingent of South Africa troops stand between the irregulars and the gates of the capital.

CAR Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye is urging the Seleka rebels to negotiate following the collapse of a power sharing deal struck in January.

Tiangaye is determined to ward of a bloodbath in the country.

The rebels broke through a check-point manned by a regional peace-keeping force and reported they'd been fired upon by a South African Air Force helicopter.

The South Africans are in the CAR protecting property and a small team of military trainers who have been there for some years.

(Edited Tamsin Wort)