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Gunmen tour streets of Central African Republic

Sunday, December 08, 2013 - 01:45

Dec. 8 - France said it will start disarming fighters in the Central African Republic by force if necessary on Monday, although rebel gunmen still tour its streets. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

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--STORY CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES -- French troops survey the landscape of the Central African Republic -- a country mired in violence and turmoil. At least 400 people have been killed in inter-religious attacks over the last three days. On the ground the mostly Muslim Seleka Gunmen still tour the capital in pickup trucks -- although that is expected to change. On Monday, France said it will start disarming fighters -- by force if necessary. Central African Republic has slid into chaos as interim president Michel Djotodia struggles to control his loose band of Seleka fighters, who helped him seize power in March. Interim President Michel Djotodia is in Paris -- where he says France is lending its support. (SOUNDBITE) (French) CENTRAL AFRICAN PRESIDENT, MICHEL DJOTODIA, SAYING: "France is clear about this. It is not coming here to replace whatever, France is not coming here to disturb the transition, it is coming to support this process which has been put in place so that in a short time from now the constitutional order will be reinstated in Central African Republic." Others are seeking help from a higher power -- as they gather for prayer at St. Paul's church in the capital city Bangui. The church is struggling to offer formal funeral services for residents who have lost loved ones. (SOUNDBITE) (French) DIEUDONNE NZAPALAINGA, ARCHBISHOP OF BANGUI AND PRESIDENT OF THE EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE OF CENTRAL AFRICA, SAYING: "We need today to promote inter-religious dialogue to transform the dynamic of violence and war into a dynamic of peace and solidarity." France is deploying 1,600 troops to its former colony after the U.N. authorized the use force to help African peacekeepers struggling to restore order.

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Gunmen tour streets of Central African Republic

Sunday, December 08, 2013 - 01:45