At least seven people have been killed in attacks perpetrated by Muslim and Christian factions in the Central African Republic, according to reports.
Agence France-Presse (AFP) report that the country’s interim government has announced that violence flared on Monday when gunmen launched an attack on members of the Union for Peace in Central African Republic (UPC), a faction of the majority Muslim Seleka rebel alliance, in the capital city Bangui.
“The provisional death toll is seven killed and one injured but whose life is not in danger,” Security Minister Dominique Saïd Panguindji said.
Four of the dead were UPC members while three were Christians targeted in a revenge attack, he said.
The UPC members who were killed were visiting Bangui for conflict resolution talks with the country’s temporary government, the minister added.
According to Reuters, three Christians who found themselves in Bangui’s mainly Muslim PK5 sector were then abducted and killed in an apparent act of retaliation.
The killings risk jeopardising the peace talks that the UPC members were attending. The talks, hosted by interim president, Catherine Samba-Panza, are supported by France and other members of the international community.
Pope Francis is due to visit the country from November 29-30 as part of his papal visit to Africa. During the trip, the Pontiff will also travel to Kenya and Uganda.
Violence and unrest has blighted the Central African Republic since 2013 when Seleka rebels ousted former president Francois Bozize, a Christian.