A team of researchers from Human Rights Watch in the Central African Republic say they witnessed a convoy of Chadian peacekeepers escorting senior Seleka rebel leaders as they headed north out of the country's capital, raising suspicions the peacekeepers are allied with the rebels.

The Chadian peacekeepers, who are part of an African Union force, had earlier ordered the Seleka rebels to remain on their bases.

Human Rights Watch's emergencies director Peter Bouckaert told The Associated Press by telephone that he spotted the rebel vehicles inside the convoy of heavily-armed Chadian peacekeepers on Jan. 26. In one of the cars, Bouckaert recognized Gen. Mahamat Bahr, the head of military intelligence for Seleka.