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5 Killed in CAR, Polling Extended

  • VOA News

Voters queue to collect their cards at the polling station at the Koudoukou school in the flashpoint PK5 district in Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec.14, 2015.

Voters queue to collect their cards at the polling station at the Koudoukou school in the flashpoint PK5 district in Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec.14, 2015.

Voting on a new constitution for the Central African Republic stretched into a second day Monday, a day after deadly violence disrupted polling in some areas.

The Red Cross says five people were killed and at least 20 others injured Sunday as supporters and opponents of the referendum traded gunfire in the capital, Bangui.

Polling resumed Monday in the Muslim-majority PK-5 area, the site of some of the clashes. French soldiers and United Nations peacekeepers guarded polling sites to prevent a repeat of the violence.

Unrest also reportedly disrupted violence in the north of the country.

The proposed new constitution and presidential elections set for December 27 are aimed at ending nearly three years of political instability, made worse by fighting between Muslim and Christian militias. Hundreds of thousands of CAR residents, mostly Muslims, have been forced to flee their homes.

The country has experienced frequent conflicts and coups since winning independence from France in 1960.

Results from the constitutional referendum are expected by the end of this week.

The proposed constitution would safeguard religious freedoms and limit future presidents to two five-year terms in office.

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