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Central Africa says at least 43 died in rebel raid

Written by: Staff
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BANGUI, June 29 (Reuters) More than a dozen government soldiers and foreign peacekeepers as well as some 30 rebels were killed during a raid by Chadian insurgents into Central African Republic this week, the former French colony's government said.

The rebels - who have vowed to overthrow Chad's President Idriss Deby - launched an attack on a settlement in the north of Central African Republic, the government said this week, after a similar raid a month ago.

Jean-Francis Bozize, chief of staff for the Central African Republic's defence minister and son of President Francois Bozize, said in a statement late yesterday 11 government soldiers had been killed along with two peacekeepers from a Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) force.

He said at least 30 Chadian rebels - whom Chad's Deby says are in the pay of Sudan - were killed and one taken prisoner.

Sudan denies the charge.

A similar raid a month ago near the northeastern town of Tiroungoulou killed two Central African soldiers.

The Chadian insurgents used the lawless north of Central African Republic as a staging post from which to launch an assault on Chad's capital N'Djamena in April, killing hundreds of people weeks before a presidential election Deby won.

Some analysts fear another such attack and warn unrest on the Chad-Sudan border could spread south, exacerbating tensions in Central African Republic, which has been racked by rebellions and mutinies within the armed forces in recent years.

Armed gangs operating in northern areas have killed dozens of people in raids on villages in recent months, sending thousands of people fleeing across the border into Chad.

REUTERS SHR RAI2123

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