French air force transport planes arrived in Chad Sunday to evacuate foreign nationals as rebel forces reportedly backed by Libya continued their advance on the capital after forcing the president and other government leaders to flee the country.

Chadian President Hissene Habre, who was refused assistance by his ally, France, fled to Cameroon with most of his government and his family Saturday morning. Within hours, the rebel forces led by Habre's former security adviser, Idriss Deby, had reached the outskirts of the capital, N'Djamena.Chad's ambassador in Paris, Ahmed Alami, said Saturday, "Habre left because he did not want any bloodshed in N'Djamena. When it is finished, it is finished."

Panic was reported throughout the capital Saturday as people fled across the border into Cameroon.

"There has been shooting since 9 this morning. There is shooting now," said one man in N'Djamena who was quoted on Radio France International. By afternoon, the rebel army had taken control of parts of the city and was awaiting the arrival of Deby himself.

More than 900 foreigners, most of them French, were awaiting evacuation Sunday from the capital.