Our chief correspondent roams across the news agenda bringing both light and shade to his topical reports.
Something odd about today. Not least the call from the French military saying all arrangements with journalists to film with them here are cancelled until further notice.
So we left our hotel for the airport this morning a little after 8am.
After a colleague was lucky not to be killed yesterday by a mob – very lucky – we’d decided only to operate on the streets close to French soldiers, very close.
But where were they? All yesterday’s roadblocks gone. The big plan to disarm the militias suspended after one day it seemed.
Then came the news. Francois Hollande will visit the Central African Republic (CAR). Or get off a plane, stand at the razor-wired, secured airport, and fly off again.
We felt a little relieved. It was not a security issue on the streets but a presidential visit that was suspending operations.
Just as we digested this information a vehicle crammed with African peacekeeping troops from the UN Fomac operation cut up our vehicle and halted just ahead.
As our cameraman Stuart Webb filmed (see video above) we witnessed them jump out and open fire. There is a large volley of shots before anyone appeared to take up firing positions or cover.
Almost at once one of the soldiers falls, apparently shot, a few metres forward of our position. He lies motionless on the road. Their target appeared to be civilians who had run up a side street from the main airport road.
I detected no incoming fire and in the chaotic way they opened up it is at least possible he either shot himself or was shot by one of his own men.
We got back into the car and reversed at speed to exit back to the hotel.
The Fomac casualty comes as news that two French army peacekeepers have been shot dead. It’s not clear where, but they’ve deployed in only two cities, the northern town of Bossangoa which is reportedly calm, and here in the capital Bangui, which is violent.
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French soldiers are on the streets in the Central African Republic. But they cannot be everywhere: by day, Christian mobs still seek revenge, while the terror of the Seleka stalks at night.
Of course, Seleka leaders are around still in Bangui, the Central African Republic’s capital. One – pistol not very concealed – is living it large around our hotel buffet most
It is barely 1,000 metres from the main terminal building here in Bangui, in the Central African Republic, but it is a sight that renders you speechless.
France has deployed troops to the country – but the terrified people on the streets don’t believe they will be able to protect them from rival armed militia.
Since gunmen attacked this hospital patients won’t come here, and the presence of heavily armed African peacekeeping troops in the hospital grounds does not reassure them.
Doctors with scarce supplies are forced to help the Seleka militia responsible for much of the bloodshed. And as the UN warns of impending genocide, aid groups say the world must act.
Leaving from “toy-town” Paris, I travel into the Central African Republic – a country of bandits, gunmen, violent civil disorder, and darkness.
Out of time and soon out of office, the Afghan president-outgoing, Hamid Karzai, has just done exactly what Afghans and foreigners alike, never expected.