French troops trade fire with armed men in Central Africa

People take cover from a gunfire during a disarmament operation by French soldiers in Bangui, on December 9, 2013. The French troops charged with disarming rebels in Central African Republic on December 9, 2013 exchanged fire with armed men near Bangui airport, AFP photographers said. The shooting lasted a few minutes, and there was no initial indication of casualties. PHOTO | AFP

What you need to know:

  • Paris warned that the task of disarming fighters would be difficult as former Seleka rebels who seized power in a March coup shed their combat gear to avoid detection, and clashed sporadically with soldiers dispatched to quell violence in the unstable country
  • French President Francois Hollande, who sent troops into the west African country of Mali earlier this year to stop Islamists and Tuareg rebels from advancing on the capital Bamako, has said France cannot turn a blind eye to the massacres perpetrated in the Central African Republic
  • France has more than 5,300 troops stationed in a string of bases across western and central Africa, according to defence ministry figures
  • Mr Djotodia has accused forces loyal to the exiled Bozize, who still has allies in the coalition government and has hinted he had not given up on his old job, of being behind the vigilantes



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