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13:42, 18 July 2018 Wednesday
Update: 16:14, 19 October 2017 Thursday

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UN condemns fresh violence in Central African Republic
UN condemns fresh violence in Central African Republic

Christian anti-Balaka militia accused of attacking Muslims in the country's south killing at least 20

World Bulletin / News Desk

A UN mission on Wednesday condemned reports of violence in southern Central African Republic which have claimed several lives.

The Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) said in a statement it had received reports of violence in Pombolo, a village in the Lower Kotto province.

"Early indications suggest that the widespread violence would have cost the lives of many innocent civilians," the statement added without giving more details on the number of casualties.

The mission said "it will do all in its power to end the violence and facilitate access to treatment for the injured," adding that it will dispatch a helicopter for aerial reconnaissance and send ground troops.

Souleymane Daouda, spokesman of the Union for Peace in the Central African Republic, formerly known as Seleka, told Anadolu Agency that at least 150 Muslims were killed and nearly 100 others injured in Pombolo.

He added in a telephone interview that the casualties were still being counted.

The exact circumstances of this massacre are not clear, but according to initial reports, the assailants are believed to belong to the Christian anti-Balaka group, who killed more than 20 people in a mosque attack last week.

Violence erupted in the central African state in 2013, when Muslim Seleka rebels ousted then-President Francois Bozize, a Christian leader, who came to power in a 2003 coup.

Fierce fighting has continued between Muslim Seleka and Christian anti-Balaka rebels, forcing nearly half of the country's population to depend on humanitarian assistance, according to the UN.

The anti-Balaka militia recruits fighters from the southern and western parts of the country.

It surfaced in 2013 as a self-defense group to fight against the Seleka militia that ousted Bozize, and is dominated by his supporters.

The Seleka is an alliance of several armed groups from the majority-Muslim northeastern part of the country.

*Nadia Chahed and Lassaad Ben Ahmed contributed to this story from Bangui



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