Africa

Obama urges for peace in CAR as two French soldiers die

Sapa-AP, Reuters

President Barack Obama has urged the people of the Central African Republic to remain calm amid mounting sectarian violence.

US President Barack Obama. (AFP)

Two French soldiers have been killed in Central African Republic, where France has boosted its troop numbers to help restore stability, French media reported on Tuesday.

Citing French army sources, BFM TV reported that they were killed on Monday in a clash in Bangui.

French defence ministry officials declined to comment. A spokesperson for the joint chiefs of staff was not immediately available for comment.

The reports came before French President François Hollande was due to make a brief visit to Central African Republic on his way home after Tuesday's commemoration service for late South African leader Nelson Mandela.

Soldiers in a 1 600-strong French force battled gunmen in Bangui on Monday in an operation to disarm rival Muslim and Christian fighters responsible for killing hundreds since last week.

Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama urged the people of the Central African Republic to remain calm amid mounting sectarian violence.

'Choose a different path'
The White House said Obama taped the audio message on Monday in Dakar, Senegal, as Air Force One was refuelling on its way to Johannesburg for the memorial service. Mandela died last week at the age of 95.

Obama addressed his remarks to the "proud citizens of the Central African Republic" and said they have the power "to choose a different path" than the violence that led to more than 400 deaths in two days of violence last week between Christians and Muslims.

Obama said he joins Muslim and Christian leaders in calling for calm and peace and says those who are committing crimes should be arrested. – Reuters; Sapa-AP

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