BANGUI, Central African Republic : French and African peacekeepers on Saturday seized weapons from militia in the capital of the strife-torn Central African Republic, but failed to detained a wanted leader of the rogue groups. The international troops went house to house for about four hours in Bangui's Boy Rabe neighbourhood, the base of mostly Christian militias whose attacks have driven many minority Muslims from the city in recent weeks, sparking warnings of "ethnic cleansing".

Automatic weapons, grenades and a large number of munitions were seized in the operation that involved some 250 peacekeepers and police, according to an AFP correspondent on the scene.

"All people who were found to have weapons in their homes have been identified and will be handed over to the police," a peacekeeper from the African Union MISCA mission told AFP.