25 killed, 51 injured in clashes in Central African Republic

FILE PHOTO: U.N. peacekeepers take a break as they patrol along a street in Bangui, the capital of Central African Republic. REUTERS/Media Coulibaly

At least 25 people were killed and 51 others were injured in clashes in the Central African Republic town of Ndele in the northeast, according to a government official.

The nation’s communications minister, Ange-Maxime Kazigui, said that 21 civilians were killed in the fighting which, humanitarian workers claim, was among members of the Popular Front for CAR’s Rebirth (FPRC).

In 2019, the FPRC split into factions, pitting the Runga ethnic group on one hand and the Gula and Kara ethnic communities on the other. The two sides have been battling for control of the region’s resources, which includes vast diamond deposits.

An official from the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSCA, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP that the Gula wing of the FPRC attacked the Runga faction on Wednesday.

“There were about 100 Gulas who entered the town wearing civilian clothes,” the official said.

Ndele, which is under the control of the FPRC, has witnessed clashes between the Runga and the Gula since the beginning of March.

The Central African Republic has been unstable since gaining independence from France in 1960 and was plunged into further turmoil in 2013 when Muslim rebels from the Seleka umbrella group seized power in the majority-Christian country.

Violence has persisted in the country despite a peace deal being reached between the government of the Central African Republic and 14 rebel groups in early 2019 following weeks of talks in Sudan.

Violence in the country has killed thousands and displaced millions of others from their homes.