French peacekeepers killed several militants during a three-hour battle on Monday after coming under attack from some 40 heavily armed unidentified gunmen in the northwest of Central African Republic, a French army official said on Tuesday.Thousands of French and African troops have failed to stop the waves of intercommunal violence that erupted after mostly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power in March 2013 in the majority Christian former French colony.”Elements of the Sangaris (French) force were attacked by a group of 40 heavily armed individuals,” army spokesman Gilles Jaron said in Paris. “The clashes lasted three hours and some of them were destroyed – killed or injured. The others escaped.”Jaron, who declined to say how many were killed, said the troops had been tipped off that gunmen were heading to Boguila – about 450 km (280 miles) north of the capital Bangui – and had moved to protect the town. No French soldiers were injured.
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