Washington - The United States on Tuesday
"strongly" condemned the rebel takeover of the government of the
Central African Republic as "illegitimate" and said it was reviewing
current foreign assistance.
"We strongly condemn the illegitimate seizure of power
by the Seleka rebel alliance, the ouster of president [Francois] Bozize,
Michel Djotodia's self-appointment as president and the announcement of the
suspension of the CAR constitution and parliament," said Patrick Ventrell,
a spokesman at the US State Department.
He said the Seleka leadership must be held accountable for
the "trail of destruction" it left behind during months of fighting
and extensive looting.
State Department lawyers were determining whether the
extrajudicial seizure of power by Seleka met the definition of a coup, which
would help decide the future of US foreign aid, Ventrell said.
"We want these rebels to step aside and let Prime
Minister [Nicolas] Tiangaye and his government lead the country," Ventrell
The US has a "small number of forces" operating in
the south-eastern part of the Central African Republic, Ventrell confirmed.
They were serving as advisers in regional efforts to combat the militant group,
the Lord's Resistance Army.
The Seleka rebels at the weekend took over Bangui and the
presidential palace as well as television and radio stations as Bozize fled to
Late on Monday, rebel leader Djotodia, who had declared himself
the new president and said he would hold democratic elections within three
years, suspended the country's constitution, dissolved parliament and announced
he would rule by decree, according to France24 television.
The UN Security Council on Monday "strongly"
condemned the military-led coup, and criticised the ensuing violence and
looting. The African Union suspended the country's membership and imposed
sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, against the rebels.