Dec. 26 Violence flares in Central African Republic with dozens of bodies pulled from the streets and six Chadian peacekeepers killed. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
French forces on patrol in Central African republic amid fear and violence. Fierce inter-religious fighting erupted over the last two days in which six Chadian peacekeepers were killed and the Red Cross is reporting they recovered 44 bodies from the streets of the capital city Bangui. Locals accuse the Chadian troops of siding with mostly Muslim Seleka fighters, who unleashed a wave of looting, rapes and killing after toppling the President in March. French troops are going house to house tracking down weapons But panic is spreading with hundreds now running for their life to escape the violence. (SOUNDBITE) (French) BANGUI RESIDENT, ADRAMAN MONGBI, SAYING: "It's a general panic. We've been traumatized all night long, especially as it was heavy weapons going on yesterday and it spread confusion and hysteria in all districts, people who used to go out to pick up food cannot do it anymore." Those seeking safety find little comfort at a makeshift camp at the airport. (SOUNDBITE) (French) REFUGEE FERVENT NORDINE SAYING: "There are diseases here, bad smells. There are no toilets here. We feel bad. We are suffering from diarrhea." Some are just grateful to be alive. (SOUNDBITE) (French) REFUGEE CHANTAL BOUANGA SAYING: "I cannot go back home. If things became secure, then yes, but if not I cannot go home. Even if we have to stay here for a year, it helps us stay alive." Many in the country say the bloodshed has little to do with religion, in a nation where Muslims and Christians have long lived in peace. Instead they blame a political battle for control over resources in one of Africa's weakest-governed states.