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Nine killed in further Central African Republic fighting

BANGUI (Reuters) - At least nine people died in new clashes over the weekend and on Monday in Central African Republic's capital, Red Cross officials said, as the country marked a year since a rebellion and coup plunged it into chaos. Thousands have been killed since the Seleka, a coalition of mostly Muslim northern rebels, seized power a year ago and launched a campaign of looting, torture and killing that has triggered a wave of reprisals by the 'anti-Balaka' militia.

C. Africa urges Bangui militias to disarm or face force

The Central African defence minister has called on all residents of the capital Bangui to hand in any weapons or be considered military targets. Theophile Timangoa asked the population in a statement read out on state radio late Tuesday "to lay down your arms unconditionally and wait for the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration programme." "As part of its mission to protect people and property, the army will treat violators as military targets," the minister said.

C.Africa leader denounces attacks against Muslim 'sisters'

The Central African Republic's interim president on Saturday denounced atrocities being carried out against "Muslim sisters" across the country due to the brutal sectarian violence, in a speech to mark International Women's Day. "It is deeply sad that on this special day our Muslim sisters cannot be with us, simply because they were attacked yesterday and they fear for their safety," said Catherine Samba Panza, the first woman ever to lead Central African Republic.

Rains bring further misery for Central Africa's displaced

By Serge Leger Kokpakpa BANGUI (Reuters) - An early start to the rainy season in Central African Republic has worsened the plight of hundreds of thousands of people sheltering from religious violence in makeshift camps, raising the risk of malaria and dysentery, aid workers said on Tuesday.

France striving to stop Central African Republic split, Hollande says

By Serge Leger Kokpakpa BANGUI (Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande told the Central African Republic on Friday that his troops would work to stop the country splitting in two and endeavor to disarm rival fighters engaged in months of inter-religious killing. Arriving in the capital Bangui from Nigeria, where he attended unification celebrations, Hollande met the interim president, religious leaders and addressed French troops.

Hollande in C.Africa as France digs in

French President Francois Hollande is expected in Bangui Friday, nearly three months into a mission to stop deadly sectarian killing that is proving more arduous than planned. Capping a week that saw the French parliament extend Operation Sangaris and 400 extra troops arrive in the Central African Republic, Hollande was due to meet its interim president. Catherine Samba Panza has urged France and the African Union to make full use of their UN mandate to "wipe out these unchecked elements that poison our lives."

France general urges C.Africa to tackle own security

Central African forces should do their share in quelling the violence, France's top commander in Bangui said Thursday, on the eve of a visit by President Francois Hollande. Two days after Paris extended its mission and as 400 extra soldiers arrived in the country, General Francisco Soriano said Bangui could not "rely on the international community for everything". "Central Africans need to participate in the reconstruction of their own country. We already do a lot," Soriano told AFP.

Nine more bodies found in Bangui streets: Red Cross

The Red Cross said Tuesday it had collected nine more bodies in Bangui, bringing to 1,240 the number of confirmed deaths from the violence in the Central African capital since December. Among the corpses collected by Red Cross staff were two Chadian soldiers from the African Union peacekeeping force MISCA and two civilians who were killed on Sunday in clashes with militiamen on Sunday. The bodies of the other five were retrieved from several Bangui neighbourhoods, a Red Cross official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Two African peacekeepers killed in C.Africa

Fresh clashes between peacekeepers and militias have killed two soldiers and two gunmen in the capital of the strife-torn Central African Republic, where the fighting was ongoing, an officer with the force told AFP. Two Chadian peacekeepers and two fighters from the mostly Christian anti-balaka militia died in clashes Sunday in Bangui, a senior officer with the African-led MISCA force told AFP. Fresh fighting in the same area on Monday seriously wounded another Chadian soldier. sj-xbs/yad/ec

C. Africa violence has abated, says French general

Violence and sectarian fighting have abated in conflict-torn Central African Republic since the arrival of French peacekeepers in December, the head of the force said Sunday. General Francisco Soriano also said the French forces had seized nearly 1,000 firearms and 4,000 other weapons such as knives and rods in the capital Bangui and across the country. Speaking ahead of a parliamentary vote on Tuesday to extend the French mission in its former colony, Soriano said a lot of work remained to be done in the mineral-rich but impoverished nation.
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