Dec. 30 - Tensions rise in the Central African Republic as rebels threaten to march on the capital Bangui. Simon Hanna reports.
The streets of Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, were almost empty on Sunday after an evening of panic and a government declared curfew until 6am. City residents were anxious after rebel forces took Sibut, 190km north of Bangui. Their advance to the strategic city ramped up tensions. The rebels, who given mixed messages on peace talks, say they could still sweep into the capital within hours. Villages on the outskirts of the capital are tense, as many flee to Bangui fearing an escalation in fighting. The three-week-old uprising by SELEKA rebels pose the biggest threat yet to the almost decade long rule of President Francois Bozize. The Seleka rebels have threatened to overthrow Bozize if he does not honour a previous deal offering former fighters pay and jobs. The country has remained poor since independence in 1960, despite rich deposits of uranium, gold and diamonds.