Rebels waging an offensive in the Central African Republic seized another major town Tuesday, a military source said, bringing them a step closer to the nation's capital.
The rebel coalition known as Seleka, an alliance of three groups, reached Kaga-Bandoro, the fourth regional capital they have captured during their offensive that began on December 10.
While one of the rebel leaders has said they do not want to march on the capital, the fighters have nevertheless made a rapid advance south and west towards the capital, meeting little resistance from government troops.
However a Central African military source told AFP late Tuesday that a contingent of Chadian troops invited into the country by Central Africa's President Francois Bozize were moving north from Sibut towards Kaga-Bandoro.
Earlier Tuesday, a military source in Bangui said Bozize had met with military officers to discuss the situation.
Rebels arrived in the market town Kaga-Bandoro "in vehicles and on motorcycles, and started using heavy weapons to fire at strategic points: a military base, police stations, the customs office," said a military source in Sibut, about 130 kilometres south.
Kago-Bandoro is the fourth regional capital to be captured by rebels after Ndele in the north; Bria in the central region of Haute-Kotto; and Bambari, further to the southwest.
They now control large swathes of the north and the east of the country and are moving ever closer to Bangui, which sits on the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and also lies near the Republic of the Congo.