US evacuates Central African Republic embassy..UN Security Council condemns rebel attacks
The US says it has evacuated its embassy in the Central African Republic as rebels threaten to advance towards the capital, Bangui.
The State Department said it had not broken off diplomatic ties with the government but warned US citizens not to travel to CAR during the unrest.
Earlier, CAR President Francois Bozize appealed to the US and France to help block the rebel advance.
The UN has said it is evacuating its non-essential staff from the country.
US State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said the embassy had suspended operations and that the ambassador and other staff had left the country on Thursday.
“This decision is solely due to concerns about the security of our personnel and has no relation to our continuing and long-standing diplomatic relations with the CAR,” he said in a statement.
The BBC’s Junior Lingangue in Bangui says resident are stockpiling food amid fears that the rebels – known as the Seleka coalition – could launch an assault in the next few days.
On Sunday, the rebels captured the northern city of Bambari, the third largest in the country, having earlier seized the rich diamond mining area around Bria.
On Wednesday, protesters in Bangui attacked the embassy of former colonial power France, accusing Paris of abandoning them.
The UN Security Council on Thursday condemned recent rebel attacks in the Central African Republic and called on all parties to seek a peaceful solution to the country’s current crisis through political dialogue.
“The members of the Security Council reiterate their strong concern about the situation in the Central African Republic,” said a press statement issued by the 15-nation body on Thursday night.
“They condemn the continued attacks on several towns perpetrated by the ‘Seleka’ coalition of armed groups which gravely undermine the Libreville Comprehensive Peace Agreement and threaten the civilian population as well as the stability of the Central African Republic,” said the statement.
The government of the Central African Republic lost the town of Kaga Bandoro to northern rebels on Tuesday, the latest in a series taken by Seleka in the past weeks.
According to media reports, the rebels entered the town after the army abandoned positions under heavy fire.
The country is now facing the biggest challenge to its security since forming a government in January 2009 after an inclusive political dialogue.
The weeks-old Seleka rebel coalition seems to be gaining momentum in its advances, threatening all the peace accords signed in the past years.
Last week, the government rejected the charges by Seleka rebels that it failed to respect the Libreville Global Peace Agreements signed between 2006 and 2007.
In the press statement, the Security Council reiterated their demand that the armed groups immediately cease hostilities, withdraw from captured cities and cease any further advance towards the city of Bangui.
The 15 members of the Council appealed to all parties to refrain from any acts of violence against civilians and to respect human rights and emphasized that those responsible for violations should be held accountable.
“They call again on all parties to seek a peaceful solution by engaging constructively in an appropriate political dialogue,” said the statement.
watching..they are getting closer to the captial..US troops now on the ground..this is how a small story grows and grows..and it gets very little coverage on mainstream news..its only africa eh? but we know africa is very very important..and this one is an old french conquest..