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U.N. pulls staff out of Central African Republic as rebels attack

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The United Nations on Wednesday ordered more than 200 non-essential staff and families of other workers to leave Central African Republic because of a rebel offensive against the government.

Rebel coalition troops have stopped short of the capital, but UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said “their contradictory messages and their continued military offensive seem to indicate that they might be intent on taking Bangui.”

“The temporary relocation is a precautionary measure to reduce our presence in the event the security situation further deteriorates in Bangui,” he added.

The decision “will not detract from the ability of the United Nations to continue its support to the peace consolidation and development efforts in the Central African Republic,” the UN spokesman said.

The United Nations has a major political mission in Central African Republic seeking to help the government overcome more than a decade of strife. More than 200 people are involved in the withdrawal order, a UN official said.

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