Gunfire echoes in Central African capital

 

Sporadic gunfire echoed in the Central African Republic's capital tonight in a second day of clashes between the presidential guard and followers of the country's sacked army chief, witnesses said.

Fighting began after President Ange Felix Patasse's troops apparently tried to arrest General Francois Bozize yesterday.

People living near Patasse's home reported 30 minutes of shooting by the Libyan-backed presidential guard in mid-morning.

But by late afternoon the sound of small arms fire and the occasional detonation of mortars and anti-tank grenades seemed to be coming only from the northern outskirts, where Bozize has been holed up at a barracks.

"There is too much firing going on. It is very frightening," said one man who had fled the northern suburbs for the centre of the riverside city. Many others had left their homes with whatever they could carry.

There was no immediate indication of casualties.