Bangui, Central African Republic - The International Committee of the Red Cross said Friday that it has stepped in to help people who fled the fighting in the north of the Central African Republic early this week.

The ICRC said nearly 300 people had taken shelter near a camp set up by a CAR peace mission and were receiving aid such as drinking water.

“The ICRC has also helped with the burial of human remains,” it said in a statement.

On Monday, rebels of the Union of Democratic Forces for Unity (UFDR) attacked the town of Ndele, sending residents fleeing into the bush to escape the fighting.

“Several hundred people fled their homes after the attack by armed men Monday in Ndele, a city with nearly 20 000 inhabitants,” according to the ICRC.

No official death toll of civilians or fighters has been released, although security forces have reported two killed in the army and paramilitary police.

On Thursday local journalists said that calm had returned to Ndele.

At the same time the Red Cross called for the population to be spared from any further violence.

“We continue to monitor very closely the humanitarian situation so that we can address what needs appear, and we maintain a dialogue with all the factions in Ndele,” it added.

The rebels claim the government has done nothing to improve conditions in the region following peace agreements in April 2007.

Ndele, a town close to the Chadian border, which lies on busy trade routes linking Sudan and Cameroon, was at the heart of clashes between different rebel groups and the army between 2007 and 2010. - Sapa-AFP