Nearly 400 people were killed in the last three days' violence in Bangui, according to the French embassy in the Central African Republic's capital. French troops on Sunday entered the north-west of the country, where political violence has become sectarian violence in recent months.
"We count 394 dead in the last three days," French Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius told France 3 TV on Sunday. "Calm has restored to Bangui even if there are still some atrocities here and there."
Fabius said he had talked to the French ambassador in Bangui on Sunday morning.
"A certain number of operations are taking place all over the country and the operation of disarmament of the Seleka [rebel militias] are going to start," he said, adding that "the problem is that some are taking off their combat fatigues and putting on civilian clothes".
Backed by a UN mandate, the French army is deploying throughout Bangui, where civilians have begun to appear on the streets again, and units have arrived in the north-west, where sectarian violence erupted in September.
Interim President Michel Djotodia, who came to power on the back of the Seleka rebellion, on Saturday declared three days of mourning for the victims of the violence that has wracked the country since the toppling of former president François Bozizé.