Three killed in Central African Republic as French troops clash with crowds

Reuters News
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Posted: May 22, 2014 10:21 AM

BAMBARI, Central African Republic (Reuters) - Three civilians were killed in Central African Republic on Thursday as hundreds of Muslims armed with rifles and machetes clashed with French peacekeeping troops trying to disarm members of the rebel Seleka coalition in the town of Bambari.

A rebel spokesman in Bambari said the French troops had opened fire on a crowd of protesters, killing three civilians and wounding six.

But a French official denied this and said the French had fired warning shots into the air after coming under fire themselves.

The former French colony descended into chaos after the mostly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power in March last year and their attacks on the majority Christian population set off a wave of revenge attacks.

(Writing Bate Felix; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Angus MacSwan)