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Death toll over 500 in Central African Republic sectarian fighting, Red Cross says


A Christian man chases a suspected Seleka officer in civilian clothes with a knife near the airport in Bangui, Central African Republic, Monday Dec. 9, 2013. Both Christian and Muslim mobs went on lynching sprees as French Forces deployed in the capital. The Seleka man was taken into custody by French forces who fired warning shots to disperse the crowds. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (The Associated Press)

Aid officials in Central African Republic say more than 500 people have been killed over the past week in sectarian fighting.

Antoine Mbao Bogo with the local Red Cross said late Tuesday that aid workers have collected 461 bodies across the capital of Bangui since Thursday.

That figure does not include the scores of Muslim victims whose bodies were brought to mosques for burial.

Muslim rebels overthrew the president of this predominantly Christian country in March, though religious motives played little role at the time. Since then, the armed Muslim fighters have been accused of carrying out atrocities against civilians and resentment toward them has grown.

Last week that pent-up rage exploded into attacks on Muslims suspected of having ties to the rebellion.