Central African Republic Rebels Planned More Coups: Zuma

South African President Jacob Zuma said rebels who ousted his counterpart in Central African Republic were foreign-backed and planned to later topple governments in Chad and Democratic Republic of Congo.

“They wanted to establish themselves there and then from there target any country they wanted to target,” Zuma said yesterday in an interview with the state-owned South African Broadcasting Corp. “We cannot allow it.”

The so-called Seleka rebel alliance killed 14 South African soldiers on March 24 as they stormed the Central African Republic capital, Bangui, and ousted President Francois Bozize.

Zuma initially withdrew South African military trainers from Bangui along with the combatants sent to protect them. He has since endorsed the Seleka’s transitional government, which has committed to holding elections within 18 months, and has indicated he would support redeploying South African troops to support the transition.

Seleka were backed by powers from outside the African continent, Zuma said.

Authorities in Chad, the northern neighbor of landlocked Central African Republic, arrested two generals on May 1 for their alleged role in what the government said was a failed coup attempt in which at least eight people died.

Congo lies to the south of Central African Republic.

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