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CAR civilians clash with Seleka rebels

April 17, 2013 at 9:42 AM

UNITED NATIONS, April 17 (UPI) -- Fighting between Seleka rebel coalition members and civilians in Central African Republic is a major cause for concern, the U.N. secretary-general said.

The United Nations said weekend fighting in CAR left at least 20 people dead. Seleka rebels ousted President Francois Bozize and appointed their own leaders in Bangui. Bozize said rebels had help from Chadian forces.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said there were reports of rape, the use of child soldiers and other grave violations of international laws in CAR.

In a statement from his spokesman's office, Ban said he was "particularly concerned by reports of clashes between the Seleka movement and the population in Bangui, which resulted in the deaths of many civilians."

"He urges the de facto authorities to restore law and order throughout the country and to ensure the protection of civilians," the statement read.

At least 37,000 people have fled the country due to the violence since the rebel coalition launched their campaign in December.

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