The president of the Central African Republic appealed for French and U.S. help after rebels seized large swaths of the mineral-rich country.
“We ask our French cousins and the United States of America, the great powers, to help us to push back the rebels... to allow for dialogue in Libreville to resolve the current crisis,” President Francois Bozize told thousands of supporters at a rally in Bangui, Agence France-Presse reported. “It is a plot against the Central African Republic, a plot against its people.” Former colonial power France however vowed it would not intervene in the country, which has a chequered history of coups and brutal rule.
The rebel coalition known as Seleka has seized four regional capitals, including a diamond mining hub, since its fighters took up arms on December 10. While it says it has no plans to move on the capital, a statement last week announcing it had suspended its advance was followed within a day by news of further rebel victories.
The rebels began their push in early December, accusing Bozize and his government of having failed to respect the terms of peace deals signed between 2007-2011.