Muslim family fleeing CAR violence come under fire

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A Muslim family fleeing violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) capital Bangui have come under fire from guns and grenades after their car broke down at the roadside, apparently with children inside.

A man who had been in the vehicle, speaking outside a house where the family sought shelter said: “We were going to the airport because we want to go to Chad. When we got here, the car broke down. They started shooting at us. They threw grenades at us. That’s why we came here for security. But they told us to leave. But leave to go where?” he asked.

Rwandan peace keepers arrived as the gunfire continued.

Almost a million people have fled fighting that started when mainly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power last March.

Christian militant groups have taken up arms against them.

The UN estimates more than 2,000 people have been killed in the tit-for-tat bloodshed since.

This latest violence comes just one day after a transitional government was announced in the former French colony.

Catherine Samba-Panza, the interim president,had asked call for the both sides of the conflict to lay down their weapons in an attempt to end months of sectarian killings.

In recent days, Seleka fighters have steadily abandoned Bangui leaving civilians vulnerable to further violence despite the presence of a 16,000-strong French intervention force and thousands of African Union peace keepers.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to report to the Security Council next month on options for the likely transformation of the African Union operation into a UN peace keeping force within six months.

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