Rebels Headed to Central African Republic's Capital

Thousands flee city


Rebels on Thursday inched closer to the capital of the Central African Republic, one of Africa's most fragile states, threatening to topple an elected government that has had an unsteady grip on power for nearly a decade.

Thousands of civilians fled cities and towns into dense forest as embassies and humanitarian aid organizations evacuated many of their staff members from the capital, Bangui.

The rebel group, an amalgamation of several different factions fighting under the name "Seleka Coalition," is trying to remove President François Bozize, a military officer who seized power in 2003 and has twice since been elected president. The rebels accuse Mr. Bozize of failing to live up to the terms of peace agreements signed beginning in 2007 to quell several uprisings.