BANGUI, Central African Republic (AP) — Residents of Central African Republic's capital have accused French forces of opening fire on civilians during an altercation resulting in multiple deaths.
The French military mission issued a statement Friday saying its soldiers came under attack Thursday night and were defending themselves.
Ousmane Abakar of Kilometer 5 neighborhood said he saw five people killed and 10 injured after the altercation that lasted until Friday morning.
Official figures were not available. The local Red Cross said it was recovering bodies but could not provide a tally.
Central African Republic exploded in violence late last year amid mounting anger at rebel fighters who toppled the president of a decade. French forces and regional peacekeepers have struggled to contain violence that has often seen victims targeted on the basis of their religion.