At least 44 people, mainly fighters, were killed this week when fighting erupted between two armed groups in southeastern Central African Republic (CAR), an official said Friday.
“Fighting between AAK Zande militia and the Unity for Peace in the Central African Republic (UPC) rebel group broke out on Tuesday morning in Mboki town in Haut-Mbomou prefecture, paralyzing business,” Mayor Leah Pata told Anadolu.
“The death toll stands at 44 people including four civilians.”
She said hundreds of civilians sought refuge in a Catholic church before calm returned.
Recent clashes between the two factions have displaced more than 5,000 people from Mboki to the town of Zemio in the same prefecture, according to authorities.
The UPC group belongs to the coalition of major rebel groups in the country, known as Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) led by former President Francois Bozize, created in 2020 in the run up to the presidential election.
The coalition said in a statement that clashes began after the AAK Zande militia attacked UPC positions.
Despite the fighting, the town remains under the control of CPC elements, it said.
The coalition brings together six main rebel groups said to control two-thirds of the Central African Republic.
Their goal is to oust the government of President Faustin Archange Touadera but various attempts have been foiled amid the response of UN soldiers and elements of Russian mercenaries of the Wagner security group.
The UN has accused the Coalition of Patriots for Change and other armed groups of continuing to spread terror, insecurity and suffering among the civilian population.