Life slowly returns to normalcy in CAR

Bangui- Central African Republic (PANA) -- Residents in Bangui are slowly returning to their normal activities almost one month after a failed coup disrupted life in the capital of the Central African Republic (CAR).
Led by former ruler Andre Kolingba, the coup was foiled by forces loyal to President Ange-Felix Patasse, Libyan soldiers and those of DR Congolese rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo.
The markets are busy and so is the city centre where people have returned for their usual business.
Open air bars, where people usually go to after work, are back into operation in spite of a dusk to dawn curfew.
The curfew, however, has not deterred the workers to have a a few bottles of beer before hitting the road for home.
Several roadblocks are still in place in Bangui with several checkpoints where soldiers stop and search vehicles to verify the identity of the passengers.
The area where Patasse lives is completely isolated and transformed into a fortified camp, with sandbags and armoured vehicles seen at each corner of the compound.
Libyan soldiers and their CAR counterparts can be seen milling about, holding their weapons.
Early Tuesday morning Bangui residents were waken up by the sound of automatic weapons and heavy artillery.
For three hours, from 0400 to 0700 GMT, there were explosions from the outlying areas of the city.
The official radio later explained that security forces had mounted an operation to secure the southern areas in order to flush out remnants of the putsch who had ambushed and robbed taxi drivers.

27 june 2001 22:53:00

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