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Rebels launch attacks close to C.Africa capital

The simultaneous dawn assaults on army units were the first close to the capital since President Faustin Archange Touadera was re-elected in a December ballot.

FILE: Central African Republic Prime Minister Firmin Ngrebada (2nd R), salutes his troops on the road between Boali and Bangui, on 10 January 2021. Picture: FLORENT VERGNES/AFP

BANGUI - Rebel forces in the Central African Republic on Wednesday launched two attacks that were pushed back on the outskirts of the capital Bangui, Interior Minister Henri Wanzet Linguissara told AFP.

Officials with the UN peacekeeping force confirmed the two attacks.

Wednesday's simultaneous dawn assaults on army units were the first close to the capital since President Faustin Archange Touadera was re-elected in a December ballot.

Fighting was still underway, said UN MINUSCA mission spokesman Abdoulaziz Fall, who only spoke of one attack.

A coalition of armed rebel groups, accused of an attempted coup after their offensive to disrupt last month's presidential elections, have vowed to march on Bangui.

Wednesday's dawn attacks nine and 12 km (five-seven miles) from the capital targeted two army brigades but the rebel forces were repelled, the minister said.

The incidents are the latest since the alliance of Central Africa's six most powerful rebel groups who control two thirds of the country launched an offensive to prevent Touadera's re-election.

He won the December 27 vote and was declared the winner on January 4.

The rebels have since carried out sporadic attacks most in towns far from the capital and they have been repelled by UN peacekeepers and Central African troops along with Rwandan soldiers and Russian paramilitaries sent to help.

CAR prosecutors have launched an investigation into former president Francois Bozize, who the government accuses of plotting a coup with the help of armed groups.

Bozize, who denies the allegations, came to power himself in a coup in 2003 before being overthrown in 2013, after which the country slid into sectarian conflict.

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