By Emmanuel Braun and Paul-Marin Ngoupana BANGUI (Reuters) - President Francois Hollande flew into Central African Republic hours after two French soldiers were killed in fighting and praised his troops for tackling "horrendous violence" against women and children and helping avert a slide into civil war. Hollande ordered a 1,600-strong French force into its former colony last week with United Nations backing to disarm Muslim and Christian militias and halt fighting that was spilling over into killing of civilians. Crowds attacked a mosque, looted houses and torched cars in the capital, Bangui. Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres said 72 people had been treated, mainly with gunshot wounds, in two Bangui hospitals.
French forces have killed 19 Islamist fighters during security operations in Mali's northern region of Timbuktu, a senior French officer in the West African nation said on Tuesday. Pockets of al Qaeda-linked fighters are still holding out across the north, nearly a year into a French offensive aimed at driving them from the desert region they occupied for most of 2012 after hijacking a rebellion by Tuareg separatists. "There were clashes north of Timbuktu on the road to Taoudenit. After being scattered across Mali and into neighbouring countries, Islamist groups have stepped up their operations in recent months.
PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — The casket of anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, draped in the multi-colored South African flag, has arrived at the seat of power in the country's capital for public viewing.