The rebels have claimed that their actions are justified in light of the "thirst for justice, for peace, for security and for economic development of the people of Central African Republic."
Despite Central African Republic's wealth of gold, diamonds, timber and uranium, the government remains perpetually cash-strapped.
The rebels also are demanding that the government make payments to ex-combatants, suggesting that their motives may also be for personal financial gain.
Paris is encouraging peace talks between the government and the rebels, with the French Foreign Ministry noting in a statement that negotiations are due to "begin shortly in Libreville (Gabon)." But it was not immediately clear if any dates have been set for those talks.
The U.N.'s most powerful body condemned the recent violence and expressed concern about the developments.
"The members of the Security Council reiterate their demand that the armed groups immediately cease hostilities, withdraw from captured cities and cease any further advance towards the city of Bangui," the statement said.
Goma reported from Libreville, Gabon. Associated Press writers Krista Larson in Dakar, Senegal; and Jason Straziuso in Nairobi, Kenya contributed to this report.
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