Hundreds escape from CAR jail

BANGUI - Hundreds of inmates at a prison in the Central African Republic have escaped as a wave of violence left dozens dead.

After a Muslim taxi driver was killed, clashes erupted on Saturday between Christian militia and Muslim groups.

Members of a Christian militia known as the anti-Balaka attacked the prison on Monday, freeing hundreds of soldiers and militiamen.

The CAR has been wracked by violence since a mainly Muslim rebel group, the Seleka, seized power in March 2013.

The Seleka group was then ousted, sparking a wave of violent reprisals against the Muslim population, thousands of whom fled their homes.

Since the latest upturn in violence began at the weekend, more than 30 people have been killed.

The United Nations children's agency, Unicef, said at least three teenagers had been killed, with one beheaded.

Prisoners escaped from the Ngaragba jail in the capital Bangui on Monday evening. "There is no-one in the prison," Reuters news agency quoted a senior security source as saying.

Thousands of protesters marched on the presidential palace on Monday to call for greater power for the army, which has seen its powers reduced since an interim government was installed in January 2014.

Interim President Catherine Samba Panza has cut short her trip to the UN General Assembly.

Presidential elections are scheduled for October, a month before Pope Francis visits Bangui.

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