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Uncontrolled violence in Central African Republic displaces thousands

Rebecca Blackwell / AP

Muslims flee Bangui in a pick-up truck heading towards the airport, as French soldiers help protect them from an angry crowd, in the Miskine area of Bangui, Central African Republic, on Dec. 29, 2013.

Miguel Medina / AFP - Getty Images

People from the Cameroonese community get off a truck as they arrive at the Bangui International airport on Dec. 29, 2013.

Miguel Medina / AFP - Getty Images

Christian militiamen pose with their weapons near Bangui on Dec. 29, 2013.

Heavy weapons fire rang out in the north of Central African Republic's capital Bangui early on Monday in what the government said were clashes with Christian militias.

French and African troops have struggled to contain violence between Muslim Seleka rebels and Christian militias that has already killed 1,000 people this month and displaced hundreds of thousands.

"There was heavy weapons fire north of Bangui for a few hours and several neighborhoods were affected," Amy Martin, head of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Bangui told Reuters.

The country's Christian majority has complained of waves of looting and killing by Djotodia's loose band of militias who seized power in March with the aid of fighters from Chad and Sudan.

Violence intensified in early December after Christian militia launched reprisal attacks on Seleka forces, raising fears of generalized conflict in the country.

The number of internally displaced has swollen with the mounting violence and over 100,000 are sheltering in a makeshift camp at Bangui airport, a medical charity said.

Andreea Campeanu / Reuters

A woman displaced as a result of religious violence rests in a house within the Catholic Church in Bossangao, north of capital Bangui on Dec. 29, 2013.

Rebecca Blackwell / AP

Chadians waiting for evacuation flights sit inside a hangar at the airport in Bangui, on Dec. 29, 2013.

Miguel Medina / AFP - Getty Images

People gather at camp for internally displaced persons set up amid old aircrafts near the airport in Bangui on Dec. 29, 2013.