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Religious Violence Escalates In Central African Republic

Posted: December 6, 2013

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France sends troops to its former colony after clashes between Muslims and Christians left nearly 300 dead.

A French soldier looks out from an armored vehicle during a patrol through the streets of Bangui, on Thursday.

A French soldier looks out from an armored vehicle during a patrol through the streets of Bangui, on Thursday. Sia Kambou

France has sent troops to the Central African Republic after violence there flared between Muslim and Christian militias amid reports that the death toll from fighting had reached 280.

The Associated Press reports:

"[Mostly] Muslim armed fighters who have ruled the country since March hunted door-to-door for their enemies. Bodies lay decomposing along the roads in a capital [Bangui] too dangerous for many to collect the corpses."

Reuters says the former French colony

"has slipped into chaos since mainly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power in March, leading to tit-for-tat violence with 'anti-Balaka' militia formed by the Christian majority. The violence that began on Thursday was the worst the capital has seen during the crisis."

Hundreds of soldiers began arriving from neighboring countries after Paris gave the go ahead for the mission, Reuters says.

The news agency quotes a resident in the PK12 neighborhood of the CAR capital as saying Seleka fighters were going "door to door."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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