CAR rebels occupy Sibut after army withdraws - resident, official

Reuters Middle East

BANGUI, Dec 29 (Reuters) - Rebels in Central African

Republic took control of the town of Sibut, 190 km (115 miles)

north of the capital Bangui, after national army and Chadian

soldiers stationed there withdrew, a resident and the head of

the pro-government youth movement said on Saturday.

"The rebels arrived at around 9 a.m. on two trucks and

several motorcycles and took positions at strategic points in

the town, firing their guns," said Yvon Jolier Bema, a Sibut

resident who fled to Bangui. "The national army and the Chadians

had left on Friday in the direction of Bangui."

Levi Yakite, the president of the Young Patriots movement

that has been organising near-daily anti-rebel marches in the

capital, confirmed Sibut was now occupied by the rebels in an

address on local radio.

(Reporting by Paul-Marin Ngoupana; Writing by Richard

Valdmanis; Editing by Alison Williams)

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