May 20, 1996 in Nation/World

French Help Put Down African Uprising

Compiled From Wire Services

French troops moved into downtown Bangui on Sunday to help quell an army uprising that left at least four people dead and terrorized the capital with machine-gun and rocket fire.

Civilians cowered on the floors of their homes as troops demanding control of the national armory fought with presidential guards in the streets. The mutinous soldiers took hostage at least six people with government ties.

National radio Sunday night said consultations were under way with army representatives to try to arrange talks Monday with the government. There was no word on whether the rebels would agree to attend.

In Paris, Foreign Ministry spokesman Christophe Bouchard said the French soldiers were only protecting the 2,500 French citizens in Bangui and did not plan to intervene in the conflict.

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