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Troops seize large weapons cache in CAR

18 March 2014, 13:02

Bangui - African peacekeepers on Monday announced the seizure of a large weapons cache near Bangui airport in the capital of the strife-torn Central African Republic.

"This is an important arsenal that would be enough to keep a large part of Bangui under siege," said a source in the Misca force who asked to remain anonymous.

He said Chadian soldiers found the weapons during an operation lasting several hours late last Thursday, acting on a tipoff from local residents.

The haul included more than 10 000 rounds of 12.7 mm bullets, two anti-air missiles, three rocket-propelled grenades, six mortars, around 50 assault rifles and a score of anti-personnel mines.

"We are unsure of the origin of the arsenal," the Misca source said.

The Central African Republic was plunged into chaos by a March 2013 coup that ousted president Francois Bozize, sparking a cycle of revenge attacks between the Muslim minority and Christian majority.

The violence has left thousands dead and displaced around a quarter of the impoverished country's 4.6 million people, and the United Nations is investigating genocide allegations.

The former colonial power France, which deployed 1 600 men in early December in support of the 6 000-strong Misca force, last week announced that it would send 400 more.

The European Union will deploy a 1 000-strong peacekeeping mission next month.



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