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French prosecutors investigate soldiers for violence in Central African Republic

Prosecutors in Paris have opened an investigation into alleged incidents of violence by French soldiers in Central African Republic. The investigation concerns two separate incidents in early 2014.

Five French soldiers are suspected of having committed violent acts or witnessing violence without intervening. They reportedly beat up two people in the capital, Bangui, in early 2014 while other soldiers stood by.

The soldiers in question all reportedly come from the 2nd Marine Infantry Regiment based in Auvors, according to information from the Defense Ministry.

A spokeswoman for the French prosecutor's office said Monday that the soldiers were suspended earlier this month.

French forces in Central African Republic are already the subject of three investigations into allegations of sexual abuse involving children.

A number of UN peacekeepers also face

sex abuse allegations

.

France's military deployed 900 troops to Central African Republic, a former French colony, after widespread violence involving Muslim-led rebels and Christian militias erupted in 2013.

Their mission is due to end by the end of this year, as is the

UN mission

.

ss/cmk (AFP, Reuters)