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Bozize Movement Says It Is Behind Attacks in CAR Capital

A movement allied to former Central African Republic president Francois Bozize has claimed responsibility for attacks Thursday in the CAR capital, Bangui.

Lin Banoukepa, the leader of a pro-Bozize movement known as FROCCA, told VOA that fighters are attempting to oust the rebels who toppled Bozize back in March.

Speaking by telephone from Paris, he said the fighters are striving to "restore the constitutional order, the constitution and elected officials in their duties." He says Francois Bozize is the president and not a rebel leader. He goes on to say when the Seleka rebels are out, FROCCA will restore the rule of law and restore Francois Bozize.

A spokesman for CAR interim president Michel Djotodia, who took power after Bozize fled the country, had blamed Bozize supporters for the violence around parts of Bangui on Thursday.

The head of Doctors Without Borders in the CAR, Sylvain Groulx, told VOA that at least eight people were killed and at least 70 people were wounded in the fighting.

In New York, the U.N. Security Council has approved deployment of more French and African Union troops to the CAR.

A resolution adopted Thursday allows France and the African Union to bolster their military forces in the country to help restore order.

France has pledged to increase its presence in the country to about 1,000 troops, while an AU-led force known as MISCA is due to expand to 3,600 soldiers this month.

The resolution also imposes a one-year arms embargo on the CAR, although supplies intended for African Union and French forces are excepted from the ban.

In an interview with VOA , deputy AU chairman Erastus Mwencha said his hope is that CAR's unrest can be contained as much as possible until the African forces arrive.

"It is very clear that the country is on the precipice of a major crisis. Many communities are fighting each other and it is extremely worrisome. And, the sooner that we can bring in a stabilization force so that Central Africa can go back and have elections and bring in a government that help the country maintain law and order, the better."

The United Nations measure also calls for U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon to recommend within three months whether to form a U.N. peacekeeping force, which he has said could involve up to 9,000 troops.

The CAR's weak interim government was unable to exert control over the rebel fighters after they pushed Bozize from power.

The mostly Muslim rebels have since been blamed for a surge in murder, rape, robbery and auto theft. Mostly Christian defense groups known as "anti-balaka" have sprung up in response.

In his interview with VOA, Banoukepa said the anti-balaka are Central Africans who want to free the country from "jihadists" who he said came from Sudan and Chad.

The U.N. said Wednesday gunmen killed at least 12 civilians northwest of Bangui in an attack they said appeared to be the work of Christian militiamen targeting mostly Muslim herders.

The CAR has endured decades of instability since winning independence from France in 1960.

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