UN peacekeepers prevent attack in Central African Republic

UN peacekeepers in the Central African Republic have prevented heavily armed militia launching an attack on the town of Bambari.

A spokesman for the UN peacekeeping mission, Vladimir Monteiro, said about 40 fighters from the FPRC militia were spotted gathering in the town, armed with AK-47 assault rifles and rocket propelled grenades.

Mr Monteiro told  news agencies that an attack helicopter had been called in to disperse them.

He said the operation had been conducted under the UN’s mandate to protect civilians from being caught up in clashes between rival militias.

The region has seen rising violence as the result of a conflict between the FPRC and a rival group, the UPC.

According to the AFP news agency, the two factions have been fighting for control of taxes levied on Fulani herders during the current seasonal migration.

The are both former members of the mainly Muslim Seleka rebel alliance, which ousted Francois Bozize as president in 2013, when the country descended into civil and religious conflict.

Ime N