Central African Republic Calm Returns After 100 Die in Clashes

Calm returned to the Central African Republic after days of fighting left about 100 people dead, prompting President Michel Djotodia to replace his army chief, according to the leader’s spokesman Guy Simplice Kodegue.

The clashes started on Sept. 7 in Bossangoa, about 300 kilometers (186 miles) north of the capital, Bangui, when fighters loyal to ousted leader Francois Bozize attacked Djotodia’s soldiers, Kodegue said in a phone interview today. The combat spread to Bouca, about 100 kilometers west of Bossangoa on Sept. 9, he said.

Retired Air Force General Ferdinand Bombayake was appointed army chief to “try and control the situation in the north very quickly,” Kodegue said. He replaced Jean-Pierre Dolle-Waya, British Broadcasting Corp. reported today.

The fighting is part of growing instability in the former French colony since the Seleka rebels in March toppled Bozize. The United Nations Security Council on Aug. 14 said the nation’s conflict threatens to extend to other countries in the region.

Seleka began its rebellion after accusing Bozize of failing to honor peace accords, one of which had helped form a unity government. The African Union in July approved a 3,600-member peacekeeping force to help stabilize the country.

The recent wave of violence has forced some villagers to hide in the bush where they are exposed to diseases such as malaria, Medecins Sans Frontiers, the international medical charity, said in a e-mailed statement today.

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