Reports from the Central African Republic say at least 20 people have been killed in renewed fighting between government troops and rebels.

C.A.R. government forces clashed with the rebel Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace late last week in the northern Ndele region.   

The rebels say they killed 24 soldiers and lost only a few of their fighters.  But the army dismissed the rebel figures, saying at the most three soldiers were killed and six were wounded. 

The casualty totals could not be confirmed independently.

The Central African Republic is one of the most isolated states in Africa.  A weak government is struggling to end internal unrest as well as the spill-over violence from neighboring Chad and Sudan. 

Conflicts have displaced tens of thousands of civilians in the former French colony.
The French news agency (AFP) reports that the government on Monday launched an investigation into the killing of a local employee of the International Committee of the Red Cross. 

Armed men killed Moctar Chaib last week in the northern city of Birao.  The circumstances of the killing are not clear.