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Donors Pledge Over $300 Million to Help CAR

International donors have pledged an additional $314 million to help the Central African Republic, which has been dealing with widespread insecurity since rebels overthrew the president last year.

The African Union announced the new funding in Ethiopia on Saturday at the end of a donor conference on the C.A.R.

At the one-day conference, representatives from across Africa and the world pledged financial support to MISCA, an African-led peacekeeping force operating in the C.A.R.

Several thousands MISCA and French soldiers have been deployed in the country to prevent the violent inter-religious clashes that have ravaged the C.A.R.

On Saturday, an African peacekeeping force commander in the C.A.R. said MISCA had gained control of a town near the capital, Bangui, where heavily armed rebels had massed earlier in the week.

The arrival of the ex-Seleka fighters in Sibut had alarmed local residents.



Unrest broke out in the C.A.R. last March after mostly Muslim Seleka rebels toppled President Francois Bozize. Much of the fighting since then has been between Muslim ex-Seleka forces and mostly Christian "anti-Balaka" militia groups.

The U.N. humanitarian agency says nearly 900 people have been killed in Bangui alone since violence escalated in early December.

The U.N. also says more than 800,000 people are displaced across the C.A.R., including 400,000 in Bangui.

Interim President Catherine Samba-Panza pledged to improve security as she met with displaced people in the capital on Saturday.



"I'm going to make sure that all neighborhoods will be cleaned up one by one, all neighborhoods will be secure."



On Saturday, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said an "already alarming situation" in the C.A.R. was showing signs of growing worse.

During a speech at a security conference in Germany, he urged world powers to support efforts to restore law and order as well as reconciliation.

Earlier this week, the U.N. Security Council approved a plan to deploy 500 more European troops to the C.A.R.

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