French president Francois Hollande said yesterday that France wants to protect its interests in Central African Republic and not a regime, casting doubt that the former colonial power will come to the aid of the government facing a rapid rebel offensive. The rebels have seized at least 10 towns across the sparsely-populated north and residents in the capital of 600,000 people now fear the insurgents could attack at any time.
On Wednesday, protesters threw rocks at the French embassy in Bangui, the capital, criticising France for failing to do more.
About 200 French soldiers are in the country, providing technical and logistical support and helping to train the army, according to the French defence ministry. France, though, is focusing its efforts on encouraging peace talks.