World News

French Troops Disarm CAR Rebels after Brief Shootout

French troops operating in the Central African Republic report they came under brief fire Monday as they sought to disarm the country's former rebel fighters, following a recent swell of violence that left hundreds dead.

Military officials say the shootout happened near the airport in the capital Bangui after a group of armed men refused to hand over their weapons.

French officials described the incident as "insignificant" and say overall the disarmament process is going well.

France has deployed 1,600 soldiers to its former colony as part of a U.N.-mandated effort aimed at ending months of instability.

The most recent violence occurred last week when Christian fighters, who oppose the Muslim former rebels who run the government, launched an attack on the capital. At least 400 people were killed.

The impoverished CAR spiraled into chaos and violence after the rebel Seleka movement seized power in March, ousting President Francois Bozize.

CAR President Michel Djotodia's weak interim government has been unable to exert control over mostly Muslim ex-Seleka fighters, who are blamed for a surge in killings and other crimes. However, analysts say the mostly Christian armed opposition groups known as the anti-Balaka also have contributed to the violence.

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