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AP source: US out of Central African Republic

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LOLITA C. BALDOR | December 27, 2012 08:27 PM EST | AP


WASHINGTON — The State Department is closing its embassy in the Central African Republic and ordering its diplomatic team to leave as rebels there continue to advance and violence escalates.

U.S. officials said the U.S. ambassador and about 40 others, including a number of Americans, were flown out of Bangui (bahn-GEE') on a U.S. Air Force C-40 headed to Kenya. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were unauthorized to discuss the evacuation publicly.

Rebels have seized at least 10 towns across the sparsely populated north of the impoverished country, and residents in the capital of 600,000 people fear insurgents could attack at any time.

On Sunday, the State Department issued a warning recommending against travel to the country and authorized non-emergency personnel in Bangui to leave.