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French 'troops clash with ex-Seleka rebels' in CAR

AFP file picture (French troops patrol the streets of Bangui)

French troops on Saturday reportedly clashed with former Seleka militants northeast of the Central African Republic’s capital, a Reuters photographer said.


The photographer said that at least five people were injured in the confrontation in the rebel stronghold of Bambari, 300 kilometres northeast of Bangui. Four of the victims were reportedly rebels.

France has not confirmed the Reuters report.

The Central African Republic slipped into chaos last year after the predominantly Muslim Seleka rebels deposed president François Bozizé in a March coup. The Seleka group officially disbanded after seizing power, but some of its former members launched a campaign of killing, raping and looting, prompting communities in the Christian-majority nation to form vigilante "anti-balaka" militias, some of which are now seeking revenge on the country's Muslim minority.

Both the UN and France have warned that the crisis in the impoverished country risks degenerating into genocide and ethnic cleansing.

Since last year, France has deployed a total of 2,000 troops to support an African Union force of 6,000 peacekeepers to try to restore calm in the restive nation.



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