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France launches mission to halt C.African Republic violence

Published on Dec 7, 2013 12:07 AM

BANGUI (REUTERS) - France rushed troops to Central African Republic (CAR) on Friday, its second major African intervention in a year, to stem Muslim-Christian violence that has claimed over 185 lives this week and threatens to broaden into civilian massacres.

Hundreds of soldiers started arriving from neighbouring countries, though Paris said a small detachment of French forces already stationed at Bangui airport killed a number of unidentified fighters nearby on Thursday, hours before being given a United Nations (UN) green light for the mission to restore order.

Ms Joanna Mariner, part of an Amnesty International team in Bangui, said that she had reports of pillaging and killing in the 3rd district. "The French are patrolling on the main axes, but the city isn't yet secure," she added.

Bangui residents were cautiously optimistic over French deployments but a witness in PK12, a neighbourhood, said mainly Muslim ex-rebels had killed several people in raids on houses.

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