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Mon Dec 22 11:53:30 SAST 2014

SA troops arrive to 'secure' capital of Central African Republic

Sapa-AFP | 06 January, 2013 13:33
Soldiers from the Chadian contingent of the Central African Multinational Force (FOMAC) hold up their weapons in Damara, about 75 km (46 miles) north of Bangui January 2, 2013. Rebels in Central African Republic said they had halted their advance on the capital on Wednesday and agreed to start peace talks, averting a clash with regionally backed troops in the mineral-rich nation.
Image by: LUC GNAGO / REUTERS

At least 200 South African soldiers have arrived in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, to try to secure it from advancing rebels, a military source said Sunday.

"This well-equipped South African contingent arrived in the middle of the week... its mission is to secure the Central African capital," the source told AFP.

The troops, based not far from the neighbourhood housing the residence of President Francois Bozize, "joins in Central Africa a South African military contingent already deployed as part of military cooperation", the source added.

After the South African troops arrived, the coordinator of the Citizens Coalition Opposed to the Armed Rebels, Levy Yakite, appealed Sunday on national radio for his movement to lift the roadblocks set up to prevent any rebel infiltration attempts.

With the Seleka rebel coalition threatening to march on Bangui, Gabon, Congo-Brazzaville and Cameroon in recent days each sent 120 troops, according to a source with the multinational African peacekeeping force FOMAC.

They will join 400 Chadian soldiers already deployed to protect the key town of Damara, the source said.

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