World Bulletin / News Desk
Heavy fighting erupted near the airport in Central African Republic's capital Bangui on Wednesday as Christian militia blocked an attempt to evacuate Muslims, witnesses said, disrupting a visit by a top United Nations aid official.
The former French colony has been gripped by cycles of inter-religious killing despite the deployment of about 6,000 African and 1,600 French peacekeepers to halt violence that some diplomats say risked slipping into genocide.
Songokoua Yetinzapa, a Bangui resident living in a vast camp for displaced civilians near the airport, said clashes began after Chadian troops tried to escort a convoy of Muslims out of the city but were blocked by the militia, known as the "anti-balaka".
"I heard several people were killed but I only saw one dead body: a Muslim who was killed by the anti-balaka," he said by telephone as automatic gunfire and an explosion rang out.
A U.N. official said African peacekeepers had been dispatched to reinforce troops in the area near the airport.
Another U.N. official said the fighting had prevented Valerie Amos, U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, from travelling to the north of the country where violence between Muslims and Christians has also scattered tens of thousands of civilians.
Seleka rebels toppled President Francois Bozize last March. Killings and abuses carried while they were in power led to the creation of a mainly Christian self-defence militia known as "anti-balaka".
Around 1 million people have been displaced by the violence. U.N. officials estimate that at least 2,000 people have been killed since the start of the crisis, but say the actual figure will be much higher as mass graves as unearthed and killings continue.
Violence has escalated since Seleka leader Michel Djotodia quit power in January under international pressure. Seleka's retreat has led to Muslims fleeing the south and warnings from a top U.N. official of "ethnic-religious cleansing".
The proposed 'integration' treaty between Russia and the breakaway Republic of Abkhazia violates international law, say co-rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
A man who killed three Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers was sentenced on Friday to five life sentences in prison, with no possibility of parole for 75 years
There has been no claim of responsibility and it remains unclear whether criminal or political motives were behind the attack.
Nearly all analysts have cast serious doubts on the alleged cease-fire between the government and Boko Haram, and raised posers for the government to answer
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said "the team recovered human remains from the so-called burn site" where the plane hit the ground, but provided no additional details.
China and Russia have thwarted an international attempt to create the world's largest ocean sanctuary in Antarctica
Even with five warships on permanent patrol in the waters between Sicily and North Africa -- backed up by helicopter, plane and drone surveillance -- about 3,300 migrants have died attempting the crossing this year
New Prime Minister Khaled Bahah, Yemen's ambassador to the United Nations, flew home this month to take up the post as part of the agreement aimed at stabilizing the country
Pavel Petrinko was seized along with at least one Afghan citizen and eight Turkish engineers working for a construction company after the helicopter made an emergency landing
Canada, which has not reported any cases of Ebola, is following in the footsteps of Australia, which on Tuesday became the first rich nation to issue such a ban
U.S.-led air strikes hit ISIL positions around Kobani earlier in the day in an apparent effort to pave the way for the heavily-armed Kurdish contingent to enter
Kerry's talks in Muscat, Oman with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the EU's Catherine Ashton are due to take place two weeks before a Nov. 24 deadline
Washington Post reported that investigators had all but concluded there was not a sufficiently strong case to prove officer Darren Wilson violated the rights of 18-year-old Michael Brown when he killed him
The "sheer number and size and scope" of the flights also could pose a potential risk to civil aviation, he told a Pentagon press briefing.
While she may travel freely in public, the judge decided that Hickox must continue direct monitoring of her health, coordinate travel plans with health officials and report any symptoms