‘Hundreds dead’ in CAR violence
At least 300 people have been killed in two days of violence in the capital of the Central African Republic capital, says the Red Cross.
The organisation said its staff stopped collecting bodies in Bangui as night fell but would resume over the weekend, and expected the toll to rise.
Violence in CAR has raised fears of mass killings along sectarian lines.
Hundreds of French troops are arriving in the city as part of a UN effort to restore law and order.
A contingent of 650 troops there will be “doubled within a few days, if not a few hours,” French President Francois Hollande said on Friday.
It followed a UN Security Council vote to allow French troops to join an African peacekeeping force in the CAR.
Bangui was attacked on Thursday, reportedly by militias loyal to Francois Bozize, who was ousted as president by rebels in March, plunging the country into chaos.
The BBC’s Andrew Harding reported seeing many people lying wounded in the halls of a hospital in Bangui.
The Red Cross’ president in the CAR, Pastor Antoine Mbao Bogo, said his staff had collected 281 bodies as of Friday night and expected the number to rise significantly when they resume their work.
“Tomorrow is going to be a monster of a day. We’re going to work tomorrow and I think we’re going to need a fourth day too,” he told Reuters news agency.