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Wednesday December 4, 2013 MYT 3:25:01 AM
Wednesday December 4, 2013 MYT 3:25:56 AM
BANGUI (Reuters) - At least 12 civilians were killed and 30 wounded, including children, in an attack northwest of the Central African Republic capital Bangui, the U.N. mission there said on Tuesday.
The U.N. Security Council is to vote on Thursday on dispatching French reinforcements to restore order in a country that has slipped into chaos since mainly Muslim rebels seized power, leading to tit-for-tat sectarian violence.
BINUCA, the United Nations office in Bangui, said unidentified armed men had targeted Boali, about 95 km (60 miles) from the capital at the weekend.
The U.N. office did not give details on who was responsible but it warned of tensions between communities leading to "a climate of increasing violence" in the country.
Amy Martin, head of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Bangui, said the attack occurred on Monday and that Christian militias known as "anti-balaka" appeared to have targeted Peul herders, who are mostly Muslim.
Martin said the incident was one of a number in recent days, including fighting on Tuesday just 45 km north of Bangui.
"It looks much more organised just than community defence groups," she said, referring to the mainly Christian militia that have formed to counter abuses by the former rebels, who are known as Seleka.
Prospere Ndouba, an adviser to Michel Djotodia, the rebel chief who is now serving as interim president, said anti-Seleka youth backed by supporters of ousted president Francois Bozize were responsible for the Boali attack.
Around 460,000 people, a tenth of the population, have fled the sectarian violence since the Seleka rebel coalition, a loose alliance of warlords, seized power in March.
France has begun dispatching reinforcements to its former colony, where it will have around 1,000 troops to support an African force that has so far struggled to contain the fighting.
(Reporting by Ange Aboa and David Lewis; Editing by Emma Farge and Mark Heinrich)
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