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Violence simmers in C. Africa as peace talks open

French soldiers taking part in the 'Sangaris Operation' stand guard as people protest in Bimbo near the Central African Republic capital Bangui on June 23, 2014Key players in the Central African conflict launched a fresh round of talks in Brazzaville on Monday to end more than a year of sectarian bloodshed in the direly poor nation. The three-day forum for reconciliation and political dialogue, chaired by Congo’s President Denis Sassou Nguesso, is aimed a resolving a crisis that has left thousands of civilians dead and driven more than a million people from their homes. One of Africa’s poorest countries, CAR has been in crisis since the mainly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power in a March 2013 coup, with months of atrocities by rebels gone rogue sparking reprisal attacks by mostly Christian anti-balaka vigilantes. The African Union-led peacekeeping force in CAR, MISCA, blamed the anti-balaka groups for the killing on Monday, saying their victim was on his way “to get breakfast” near the main hospital when he was killed.

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