24 May 2014

Central African Republic: French Troops Clash With 'Uncontrolled' Séléka Fighters

Photo: Amnesty International
Tension and anger on the rise in Bangui neighbourhoods (file photo).

French troops clashed with "uncontrolled elements" of Séléka militias in the Central African Republic town of Bambara on Saturday morning, France's military has announced.

About 20 Séléka fighters in three pick-up trucks fired on French troops in Bambara on Saturday.

After warning shots failed to disperse the attackers, the French responded, destroying one of the vehicles, according to French general staff spokesperson Gilles Jaron, speaking in Paris.

The attackers, who had crossed the town to reach the French position, appear to be "uncontrolled elements", Jaron said, and the French made contact with their usual contacts in Séléka to try to calm the situation, Jaron said.

Leaders of Séléka, a loosely organised alliance of mainly Muslim armed groups that at one point toppled Mali's government, started to reorganise the movement earlier this month and moved their headquarters to Bambari.

The group that clashed with the French appear not to be under control of the leadership, according to Jaron.

No French soldiers were injured and the attackers' losses were not known on Saturday.

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