BANGUI, Central African Republic (AP) — U.N. officials say the airport in Central African Republic's capital has been forced to close as thousands seek refuge from violence.
The U.N. refugee agency said that as of Thursday morning between 5,000 and 6,000 people were at the airport, one of the few places secured by regional peacekeepers.
The mass arrival has blocked the runway for air traffic, and the U.N. said flights were being rerouted to Douala, Cameroon.
The French military had blocked access to the airport by Thursday morning though those already inside remained on the tarmac.
The chaotic country descended into further turmoil last March when rebels overthrew the president. Since taking over the country, the rebel leadership has struggled to control its fighters on the ground who are accused of killing and raping civilians.