The US said it has evacuated its embassy in the Central African Republic as rebels threaten to advance towards the capital, Bangui.
US state department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said the embassy suspended operations and that the ambassador and other staff had left the country on Thursday.
More from GlobalPost: Central African Republic threatened by rebel advance on capital
"This decision is solely due to concerns about the security of our personnel and has no relation to our continuing and long-standing diplomatic relations with the CAR," he said in a statement.
Officials said the ambassador and about 40 others, including a number of Americans, were flown out of Bangui on a US Air Force C-40 bound for Kenya, reported CBS News.
The evacuation followed President Francois Bozize's urgent call Thursday — on former colonial ruler France and other powerful nations — to help his government fight rebels who are quickly seizing towns while approaching the capital, said USA Today. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the recent violence and expressed concern about the developments.
In a separate statement, the UN Security Council called on armed groups to lay down their weapons.
"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," it said in a statement.