At least seven people, including a priest, died in clashes between armed groups in Alindao, Central African Republic (CAR), UN and church sources told AFP on Friday.
“Four Muslims were killed on Thursday morning” by Christian militia fighters, and “three people died” in a separate attack by the Union for Peace in CAR (UPC), a UN source said.
A priest was among those who died in the clashes, and another has been missing since, according to a church source in Bangui.
Vladimir Monteiro, spokesperson for the UN peacekeeping mission Minusca, also confirmed the incidents, telling AFP that Christian militiamen known as anti-balaka had killed Muslims and an hour later, “the UPC responded by attacking a camp for displaced people” in Alindao.
The church of Alindao and a part of the camp were burnt, he added.
“Part of the population fled. Hundreds of displaced people have found shelter at Minusca’s forward operating base” in the region.
Long a UPC stronghold, Alindao has witnessed chronic fighting in recent months that has also killed two UN soldiers and a humanitarian aid worker.
One of the world’s poorest nations despite a rich supply of diamonds and uranium,the CAR has struggled to recover from a 2013 civil war that erupted when President Francois Bozize, a Christian, was overthrown by mainly Muslim Seleka rebels.
Since then, the country of 4.5 million people has been blighted by simmering sectarian violence which has killed thousands.