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Central African Republic president flees to Cameroon

JOHANNESBURG — A day after being ousted by rebel forces, President Francois Bozize of the Central African Republic surfaced in Cameroon on Monday, according to a statement read on state radio by a senior Cameroon official.

He will remain there until he finds a more permanent refuge, said the official, Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh.

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The rebel coalition, known as Seleka, solidified its grip on the capital, Bangui. The group pledged to stick to the terms of an earlier transition plan hammered out in neighboring Gabon that was to lay the groundwork for new elections in two or three years, Reuters reported.

Under that agreement, the rebels, the civilian opposition, and Bozize’s allies were to share power, but the Seleka rebellion claimed that Bozize, who himself came to power in a military coup in 2003, was not respecting its terms. They withdrew from the power-sharing deal and returned to the battlefield.

South Africa, meanwhile, disclosed that 13 of its soldiers had been killed while fighting the rebels near Bangui. President Jacob Zuma said 200 soldiers battled more than 1,000 rebels.

South Africa had sent 200 of a planned deployment of 400 troops to the Central African Republic as part of an agreement with Bozize’s government to bolster and train the country’s ragtag army.

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