FRANCE 24 (France), BBC NEWS (UK), AL JAZEERA (Qatar)


BANGUI - The United Nations has evacuated its non-essential staff from the Central African Republic, while the U.S. urged its nationals to leave as rebels closed in on the capital, reports France 24.

The United Nations ordered more than 200 non-essential staff and families of other workers to leave.

"The temporary relocation is a precautionary measure to reduce our presence in the event the security situation further deteriorates in Bangui," UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said.

The rebels' "contradictory messages and their continued military offensive seem to indicate that they might be intent on taking Bangui," he added.

The U.S. has also urged its citizens to leave the country. Washington expressed "deep concern" and warned all Americans to leave the country "until the security situation improved" writes France 24.

France called for tighter security to protect the country’s embassy in the country’s capital after demonstrators targeted the building Wednesday, calling for France to intervene in the conflict and push back the rebels.

The demonstrators threw stones and tore down the French flag, reports BBC News. The former colonial power has around 200 soldiers based in Central Africa.

On Sunday, rebels in the north of the country seized at least ten towns, reports Al Jazeera. The move was perpetrated by the coalition of rebel groups 'SELEKA'.

Hebergeur d'image                         [Bangui in the Central African Republic Source: Googlemaps]

The coalition is made up of what's left of three rebel groups. They claim President François Bozize has not honored peace accords signed between 2007 and 2011, which offered financial support and other help for insurgents who laid down their arms.

It is unclear how far they have advanced towards Bangui, although some sources say they are only 75 kilometers away from the Central African capital.

Bozize, who rose to power after a coup in 2003, has repeatedly relied on foreign intervention to fend off rebellions.