Fighting flares as French withdraw Congo troops

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France was planning to withdraw its troops from Congo today as talks on resolving a bloody political dispute in its former colony were due to start in the neighbouring West African state of Gabon. The 1,200 French soldiers had helped evacuate more than 5,000 foreigners from the country since 5 June when fighting flared up between the army and supporters of the former military leader Denis Sassou Nguesso.

After a two-day lull, fighting flared up again yesterday, However, Paris rejected an appeal from President Pascal Lissouba to leave its troops in the capital, Brazzaville, as a buffer force between the opposing factions.

Reuters - Brazzaville