Bangui: Clashes between French peacekeepers deployed in the restive Central African Republic and unidentified gunmen earlier this week have left seven people dead, the UN mission in the country said Saturday.

The French soldiers were on patrol in the capital’s mainly Muslim PK5 district when they were shot at late Thursday, triggering a riposte, an official in the African peacekeeping force MISCA had said earlier.

The UN mission did not say whether anybody was wounded in the shooting but added that three houses were nearly completely destroyed in the incident.

The district’s Muslim population is “very angry with the French” after their riposte, which included helicopter support, it added.

The French army was not immediately available for comment.

A source close to the French forces had on Friday confirmed the incident but did not give a death or injury toll.

However the spokesman for the Muslim community in PK5, Abakar Moustapha, said five residents had been killed and several other people wounded.

“French soldiers were searching a house suspected to be an arms cache in the Cameroonian district (of the PK5) when they were attacked by angry youths because the Senegalese owner of the house is not in Bangui,” he said.

A spokesman for the Central African Red Cross said three people with gunshot wounds were taken to a PK5 hospital overnight Thursday.