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UN Demands Armed Groups Stop Fighting In CAR

The UN Security Council on Wednesday demanded armed groups in the Central African Republic immediately halt fighting and join peace talks after the UN airstrikes targeted rebel fighters.

The UN attack helicopters opened fire over the weekend on gunmen advancing on the central city of Bambari.

The UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous told the council there were about 300 fighters moving towards the city in pickup trucks mounted with machine guns.

He said it remained unclear how many fighters were killed in the airstrikes, which destroyed at least four of the seven pickup trucks.

Following a meeting, the council “urged the armed groups to immediately halt the fighting and join the peace and reconciliation dialogue,” said Ukrainian Ambassador Volodymyr Yelchenko, this month’s council president.

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The United Nations has deployed 12 000 peacekeepers to the Central African Republic to help restore stability following a war in 2013 that erupted after the overthrow of leader Francois Bozize.

The council “took note of the fragility of the security situation in the CAR due to the ongoing activities of armed groups” and the dire humanitarian crisis in the country, said Yelchenko.

Ladsous told reporters that France was deploying surveillance drones to the country to step up monitoring of the armed groups and help deter attacks.

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