Michel Djotodia
Michel Djotodia, leader of Central African Republic's Seleka rebel alliance (Reuters)

The rebel leader who toppled the president of the Central African Republic (CAR), Francois Bozize, has anointed himself head of state and pledged to install a power-sharing government as per a December 2012 peace agreement.

Michel Djotodia, head of the Seleka rebel coalition, seized control of CAR's capital of Bangui over the weekend.

"I can consider myself to be the head of state," Djotodia told French radio RFI moments after taking control of the presidential palace.

Thirteen South African soldiers, part of a 200-strong contingent deployed to maintain political stability in the country, were killed during fights in Bangui and one other is missing, South African president, Jacob Zuma, said.

"They fought a high-tempo battle for nine hours defending the South African military base, until the bandits raised a white flag and asked for a ceasefire," Zuma said.

"Our soldiers paid the ultimate price in the service of their country and Africa."

The coup triggered an international outcry. France's President Francois Hollande ordered 300 soldiers to Bangui to reinforce the 250 troops already there to protect the 1,200-strong French expat community.

"Things are under control regarding French nationals," French foreign minister Laurent Fabius told Europe 1 radio.

Libreville Agreement

US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland expressed concern over the situation and urged Djotodia to "establish law and order" in Bangui and "to recognise the continued legitimacy of the Libreville Agreement," singed by Seleka and Bozize in 2012.

The Libreville Agreement was signed after Seleka rebels had advanced to within 75km of Bangui.

A power-sharing government was formed and Bozize's political opponent Nicolas Tiangaye was appointed prime minister.

Bozize was allowed to end his term and free and fair elections were scheduled to take place within three years.

However Seleka rebels took up arms again earlier this month. They claimed that Bozize, who came to power on the back of a military coup in 2003 and has since won two elections, has not honoured a previous peace agreement that brought factions into the army in 2007.

After the coup, Djotodia said Tiangaye would remain in office and elections would be held as scheduled.

Bozize has fled the country and is believed to be in DR Congo.