BANGUI, Central African Republic (AFP) - Central African Republic strongman Michel Djotodia was set to unveil a new government Tuesday after declaring he would rule by decree following the latest coup in the notoriously unstable nation.

Looters were on the rampage in the capital Bangui after Djotodia’s Seleka rebel coalition seized control in a rapid-fire weekend assault that forced president Francois Bozize into exile and was condemned by the international community.

“There is pillaging everywhere, it’s very hard to control anything,” a soldier from the FOMAC African force told AFP.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said the fighting had left scores dead. Thirteen South African troops were among those killed, the nation’s heaviest post-apartheid military loss.

“We can’t give figures for the moment, but there was a large number of wounded and killed,” Georgios Georgantas, the senior official of the ICRC in the country told AFP.

“Red Cross volunteers are deployed in the city to help the wounded and clear the bodies.” Bangui remained tense, with hundreds of people roaming the streets on foot, many looking for food, and rebel patrols occasionally shooting bursts of gunfire into the air to disperse onlookers.

Djotodia, a former diplomat and civil servant who joined rebel forces in 2005, said he will keep Nicolas Tiangaye as prime minister in a power-sharing government after declaring Monday that he was suspending the constitution and dissolving parliament and government.

“During that transition period which will lead us to free, credible and transparent elections, I will legislate by decree,” he told reporters. He promised elections for 2016 and did not rule out running in the polls. The African Union suspended the landlocked former French colony on Monday, and the UN Security Council condemned the coup, threatening unspecified “further measures”.

The power change followed a lightning rebel offensive that shattered a January 11 power-sharing deal between the old regime and Seleka.

Bozize, who himself seized power in a 2003 coup, fled to neighbouring Cameroon where he spent the night in the luxury Hilton hotel in the capital, according to a local official.