BANGUI–Looters and gunmen roamed the streets of Central African Republic’s capital Bangui on Tuesday as regional peacekeepers struggled to restore order two days after a coup plunged the mineral-rich country into chaos. The ousting of President Francois Bozize and the political turmoil around it has raised fears of a humanitarian crisis in the former French colony — and embarrassed regional power South Africa which had sent troops to defend the government.
Thousands of rebel fighters poured into the capital on Sunday, brushing aside a 400-strong South African force which attempted to block their path. At least 13 South African soldiers were killed and 27 wounded. Rebel leader and self-proclaimed president Michel Djotodia — who had accused Bozize of breaking past peace accords — on Monday asked regional peacekeepers stationed in the country to help him restore order. But sporadic gunfire continued to ring out across the sprawling riverside capital, home to 600,000 people, and electricity was down for a fourth day running.