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Rebel leader flees on horseback from CAR fighters

A military source on Monday told reporters the rebel leader escaped the weekend attack on horseback.

The forces of the ruling Seleka movement launched an attack on the Democratic Front for the Central African People (FDPC), former allies, in the western region of Baboua on Saturday, the source said.

"They attacked these [FDPC] positions, leaving four dead and two injured, of whom one was seriously [injured] and who later died of his wounds," the source said, requesting anonymity.

The Seleka coalition of former rebels overthrew the unstable regime of François Bozizé on March 24 and its leader Michel Djotodia proclaimed himself head of state in the coup-prone former French colony.

Since then, Djotodia's government has struggled to secure the mineral-rich but poor landlocked nation.

The FDPC, led by Abdoulaye Miskine, threatened in April to take up arms against the new authorities.

Miskine was injured when government forces attacked FDPC positions later that month.

Fleeing on horseback
The source said an FDPC fighter who later died from wounds sustained during Saturday's attack said that Miskine had narrowly escaped the clash.

"He managed to escape on horseback, abandoning some belongings, including photos, a telephone book, and his totem, an oxtail," the source said.

Speaking to AFP by telephone early Monday, Miskine gave a conflicting account of the events.

"Once again, I deny all involvement of the FDPC in this clash, assuring that my movement has no intention of fighting the Seleka.

"On the contrary, the steps [being taken] are meant to achieve common ground between the two sides," he said.

In 2007, the FDPC became the first rebel group to sign a peace deal with Bozizé's government, but later tore it up claiming the state had not honoured its commitments.

The 66-year-old deposed leader, who seized power in a 2003 coup and was subsequently elected president twice in polls widely condemned as fraudulent, has sought refuge in Cameroon. – AFP

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