by Staff Writers
Bangui, Central African Republic (AFP) Dec 29, 2012
Rebels in the Central African Republic have repelled army soldiers who were trying to recapture the central city of Bambari, officials on both sides said Saturday.
"I am currently still in Bambari. We hold the city. We were attacked by the FACA (army) yesterday but we repelled them," Djouma Narkoya, a leader of the Seleka rebel movement, told AFP by telephone.
Narkoya claimed the army suffered "losses", while the rebel side had "one killed and three injured" in the fighting.
Bambari, a former military stronghold, was seized on Sunday by the rebels, who have taken control of a string of major regional cities and were inching towards the capital Bangui.
A Central African military source confirmed the failure to take back Bambari.
"There was fighting yesterday (Friday) in Bambari after which the FACA were pushed back towards Sibut," the military source told AFP.
The army has since retreated further towards Damara, about 75 kilometres (45 miles) from Bangui, after the rebels entered Sibut, according to military sources.
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