Militia fighters in the Central African Republic have killed at least 20 people and wounded several more in attacks in the centre of the country, a police source said Sunday.
“At least 20 people were killed and several others wounded in attacks launched Friday by elements of the ex-Seleka” in the central Kaga Bandoro region, the source said.
“Ex-Seleka” is the term used for remnants of the supposedly disbanded alliance of mainly-Muslim armed groups which seized power in CAR in late 2013 before being chased from the capital the following year.
The police source said the attacks, which continued Saturday, claimed 19 lives in several villages in the Kaga Bandoro region and several more in the regional capital of the same name.
“The heavily armed assailants burned dozens of houses that they looted in these villages,” the police source said.
MONUSCO, the UN mission in CAR, said the attacks followed clashes between ex-Seleka and their longtime foes in militias collectively known as anti-Balaka.
In a statement, MONUSCO said it had sent troop reinforcements to Kaga Bandoro and the village of Ndomete, which was particularly affected by the violence, “to prevent any deterioration of the situation.”
It said it had “already intervened in Ndomete to separate the warring parties in order to avoid reprisals against the civilian population.”
Kaga Bandoro is the fiefdom Popular Front for the Renaissance of the Central African Republic (FPRC), an ex-Seleka splinter group.
It is led by Noureddine Adam, who faces international sanctions for his alleged role in intercommunal killings in 2013 and 2014.
Violence in CAR over recent years has claimed thousands of lives and prompted hundreds of thousands to flee their homes, even if the presence of French and UN troops has gone some way to improving security.