Rebels push closer to the capital in Central African Republic; military launches aerial attack

A military official says that rebels in Central African Republic are pushing closer to the capital, Bangui.

Lt. Evrard Tekremoyen says the rebels, known as Seleka, took control of the town of Bossembele early Saturday. He said that an aerial attack has stopped the rebels from advancing beyond 26 kilometers (16 miles) from the capital.

The rebels had seized Damara on Friday, crossing the boundary line drawn by regional forces in January, when the same rebel group threatened to take the capital if their demands were not met.

Central African Republic, a nation of 4.5 million located at the heart of the African continent, remains one of the world's poorest nations. It has weathered repeated coups and rebel invasions, which have become part of the nation's political DNA.