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17 Killed in CAR Battle Between Seleka Factions

At least 17 people have been killed in the Central African Republic in clashes between factions of the former Seleka rebel movement.

The fighting erupted on Monday in the central town of Bambari. The leader of one of the factions told VOA's French to Africa Service on Tuesday that a dispute over control of a checkpoint sparked the violence.

Bambari, CAR
Bambari, CAR

General Joseph Zoundeko said his backers tried to replace the supporters of General Ali Djarras. Zoundeko said he was uncertain about which faction currently had control of the checkpoint.

The C.A.R. has endured chronic sectarian violence since the mainly Muslim Seleka rebels toppled the government in March 2013 and went on a killing and looting spree.

Reprisal attacks by the largely Christian anti-Balaka militia have prompted hundreds of thousands of Muslims to flee Bangui and other cities, with many crossing into Cameroon and Chad.

The strife has continued despite the presence of French and African Union peacekeepers.

The government of transitional president Catherine Samba Panza has struggled in its efforts to get all of the rival factions to agree to a cease-fire.