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Fresh Violence in the CAR; French Reinforcements Arriving

There are fresh reports of violence and lawlessness in the Central African Republic, as more French troops arrive in hopes of stopping the unrest.

Joanna Mariner works for Amnesty International in the CAR capital, Bangui. She tells VOA that gunmen linked to the rebel coalition that overthrew President Francois Bozize in March are carrying out deadly raids in the capital.

"Groups of government forces, what are known as the ex-Seleka, who were the armed group that took power in March, mostly going door to door looking for members of the armed opposition group known as the anti-Balaka but also just really taking advantage of the situation and pillaging, going from door to door, knocking down people's doors, breaking into the house, pillaging and killing people fairly indiscriminately."

Mariner says the level of violence is not as high as it was on Thursday when heavy fighting across Bangui left about 100 people dead.

However, she says victims of violence are continuing to be brought to local hospitals.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's office says the latest reports from the CAR are "grim."

In a Friday statement, Mr. Ban's office says the reports indicate a "deepening conflict between Muslim and Christian communities and armed groups, with tragic consequences."

Ex-Seleka fighters are mostly Muslim, while the the anti-balaka fighters mostly Christian.

The U.N. says it has received reports that adults and children were killed after elements of both sides raided homes.

It says it has also received reports that indicated hundreds of homes were burned in the western town of Bossangoa

On Thursday, the Security Council authorized deployment of more foreign troops to the CAR to restore order.

France is expected to double its force in the country to 1,200 troops. An African Union stabilization force, known as MISCA, is expected to increase from 2,500 troops to 3,600.

European powers have announced plans to send additional support to the CAR. Britain announced plans on Friday to send military equipment to the CAR to help France with its effort.

Also, the French News Agency says the European Union has announced plans to provide an additional $68 million in funding.

The CAR spiraled downward into chaos and violence after the rebel movement Seleka took power eight months ago.

The weak interim government was unable to exert control over the rebel fighters, who were blamed for a surge in murder, rape, robbery and auto theft.

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

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