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10 killed in CAR clash

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Two soldiers and eight rebels were killed in the Central African Republic after rebels attacked an army base in the country's north, a military source said on Tuesday.

The source said the rebels launched a surprise attack early Monday, when they snuck up to the army base in Kabo, close to the Chad border, and stole four military vehicles equipped with large-calibre machine guns.

After a chase and a clash lasting close to an hour, the military recovered two of the vehicles. The other two had been burned.

The military source said the assailants had identified themselves as belonging to the Democratic Front for the Central African People (FDPC), which is led by Abdoulaye Miskine and includes rogue members of a group formerly led by Chad's Abel Kadder Baba Ladde, who surrendered to the Centrafrican army in September.

In 2007, the FDPC signed a unilateral peace deal with the government. It subsequently tore up the deal, claiming the state had not implemented its commitments.

But it had ratified a larger peace agreement along with several other rebel groups in 2009.

The Central African Republic has been rocked by regular rebellions and coups since the fall in 1979 of military dictator Jean-Bedel Bokassa, one of Africa's most ruthless rulers, who was accused of serving up his political rivals to lions and crocodiles.

The instability has hobbled progress in a country that ranks among the world's poorest despite a wealth of raw materials such as uranium, diamonds and timber. - Sapa-AFP


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