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Seleka rebels kill at least 25

22 August 2013, 11:12

Bangui - At least 25 people have died in a rebel attack on supporters of toppled Central African Republic president Francois Bozize in the capital Bangui, officials said on Wednesday.

Heavily armed rebels of the Seleka coalition, made up of five rebel movements, entered Bangui's Boy-Rabe neighbourhood on Tuesday in an attempt to disarm former soldiers loyal to Bozize, shooting and killing civilians.

Dozens were injured, while hundreds fled their homes, hiding in churches and hospitals.

Former rebel leader Michel Djotodia was installed as president on 18 August, five months after seizing power in the landlocked country rich in diamonds and gold.

"We are in search of weapons and former soldiers of Bozize who want to disrupt a smooth transition and destabilize Djotodia's regime," a Seleka rebel commander told dpa on the condition of anonymity.

In a separate attack on Tuesday, Seleka coalition members also killed at least twelve residents of the Boeing neighbourhood near the capital's airport, home to ethnic Baya, who belong to Bozize's clan, witnesses said.

An army captain living in Boeing was kidnapped, witnesses added.

"We don't understand why the Seleka rebels continue to kill civilians, even after their leader, Michel Djotodia, has been sworn in," said the archbishop of Bangui, Dieudonne Nzapala-Hinga.

The former French colony has been plunged into a humanitarian crisis since the Seleka coalition rose up against the government in December and overthrew Bozize in March.

Djotodia has been struggling to restore law and order, despite the support of more than 3 5000 African Union peacekeepers.



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