Family member: Danes trapped by Central African Rep. unrest
UPDATED, 5:22pm: According to The Copenhagen Post's source, the group of foreign nationals has now reached the airport in Bangui and is scheduled to depart to Cameroon later this evening.
UPDATE, 3:15pm: The three Danes waiting with a group of 170 foreign nationals in the Central African Republic for a French military escort to depart the country are currently en route to a military base adjacent to the airport in the capital city of Bangui.
According to an e-mail sent by one of the three Danes to a family member, the group made an attempt to reach the airport by personally owned vehicle yesterday, but was turned back by mobs, who feared the UN was abandonning them amidst the violence that also forced the country's president to flee.
According to an unconfirmed report, a member of the French military shot at an insurgent near the UN compound.
ORIGINAL, published 1:44pm: Three Danes trapped in a UN compound in the Central African Republic (CAR) are awaiting French soldiers to escort them out of the country after civil unrest broke out there yesterday.
Two of the Danes are UN employees, while the other is an NGO employee, a family member of one of the three told The Copenhagen Post.
The Foreign Ministry could not confirm that the Danes were trapped in the compound, but did acknowledge that the three were present in the CAR.
“The Danish embassy is in contact with three Danes in the Central African Republic. They have been able to contact their families,” a Foreign Ministry official told The Copenhagen Post.
The situation in the CAR worsened yesterday when an alliance of insurgent groups known as Seleka took over the capital Bangui. The developments led president François Bozize to flee the country for the Congo, a government spokesman told CNN.
CAR is a former French colony and France has now turned to the UN Security Council for immediate help.
Unrest in the CAR dates back to 2007. In order to put an end to rioting at that time, the government struck a truce with the insurgents. The deal required them to join the national army and in return Bozize would meet a number of demands, including releasing political prisoners and paying the rebels money for joining the army.
In 2012, Seleka accused Bozize for breaking the promises he had given the group.
To prevent further riots, the government sat down with the rebels at the negotiating table in January and agreed that the parliament should be dissolved and the opposition appoint a prime minister. The government would also have to call an election within the next 12 months and Bozize promised not to stand for elections when his current term expires in 2016.
According to Seleka, Bozize has not lived up to the terms of the agreement and the group is now seeking to force him from power.
The sound of gunfire was heard for hours yesterday. A government official told CNN that seven civilians have been killed.
This coup is the latest and most damaging of five aimed at Bozize since he became president in 2003.