BANGUI, 23 December 2020 – United Nations peacekeepers have seized back control of towns in Central African Republic (CAR) seized by rebels in a lightning advance last week.

Bambari, the biggest of the towns seized by rebels and the one closest to the CAR capital, Bangui, was in the control of UN Peacekeepers on Tuesday.

CAR government officials flanked by senior United Nations officials said the rebels had been forced to flee into the bush.

UN Peacekeepers in CAR – Photo Xinhua via AP

Civilians and government officials who fled the town as the rebels advanced on it were beginning to return to Bambari on Wednesday.

CAR is due to hold presidential elections on Sunday.

Former President Francois Bozize who was accused of joining up with armed groups in what authorities in Bangui described as a coup attempt has denied any wrong doing.

Rwanda has sent 850 soldiers to protect Rwandese soldiers deployed as part of the United Nations peacekeeping mission.

Russian planes landed in Bangui on Monday, bringing heavy military equipment along with hundreds of troops, according to news reports.

Both Rwanda and Russia have said their deployments are in keeping with bilateral agreements with the authorities in Bangui.

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