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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Mutinous Soldiers Agree to Cease-Fire

BANGUI, Central African Republic -- After two days of fierce street battles, mutinous soldiers agreed Monday to a cease-fire and talks with the government to end their second uprising in two months, a mediator said.


Talks were to begin in the afternoon, said Nicolas Tiangaye, a lawyer and chairman of the Human Rights League who helped arrange the negotiations and was to take part in them.


Presidential guards backed by French troops controlled government buildings, the national radio station and strategic roads, but downtown was looted bare and occasional gunshots and grenade fire continued to rock the city.


At least five people -- three civilians and two mutineers -- had been reported killed by hospital sources, and more than 50 were wounded.


It was unclear whether President Ange-Felix Patasse had met rebels' demands for talks, which included amnesty for mutineers and a promise to return control of the national armory to the military. Patasse seized the armory after a similar uprising last month.


French soldiers who number 1,300 in this former French colony helped quell the April mutiny, which erupted over demands for three months' back pay. On Saturday, French troops again took to the streets after about 200 mutineers tried to seize the government buildings and national radio to press demands for April paychecks and control of the armory.


Witnesses said French troops were involved in some clashes with mutineers, but the French Foreign Ministry in Paris said they were there simply to protect France's 1,500 citizens in Bangui and would not intervene in the conflict.








Shooting broke out around the American Embassy on Sunday as mutineers battled presidential guards for control of the national radio station, which is near the Embassy.


As shooting subsided Monday morning, some civilians ventured outside to view the devastation downtown. Nearly all stores that weren't boarded up were looted bare, including the Bamang supermarket where most foreigners shop.