C. African rebels vow to respect peace deal

The leader of the Central African rebel coalition Seleka, whose fighters have seized the capital, said they would respect a peace deal signed in January.

"We are still keeping to the spirit of Libreville," Michel Djotodia told Radio France Internationale (RFI) on Sunday, referring to the city in Gabon where the peace accord was signed.

Opposition figure Nicolas Tiangaye, appointed prime minister to lead a national unity government as part of the deal between the rebels and president Francois Bozize, would remain in post.

"I met Mr Tiangaye. We have spoken with him," said Djotodia.

"It was said at Libreville that we had to... organise free and fair elections... Within three years, we are going to organise free and fair elections."

The terms of the Libreville peace deal, which was signed on January 11 by rebel commanders, opposition figures and the Bozize administration, provided for the national unity government and free and fair elections within three years.

Fighters from the Seleka rebel coalition fought running battles with government troops in the Central African capital Bangui on Sunday before capturing the presidential palace and declaring victory.

Bozize, who himself came to power in a coup, has fled, and Djotodia is one of the candidates to replace him.

He has not ruled out keeping some ministers who belonged to Bozize's clan in the government.

"We are not there to carry out a witchhunt," said Djotodia. "We have come for all Central Africans."