Fighters with the mostly Muslim Seleka rebel group attacked a northern town in Central African Republic overnight, killing at least 13 civilians and wounding 41 others, the head of the United Nations peacekeeping mission said today. International forces repelled the attackers in Kaga-Bandoro, killing between 10 and 15 fighters yesterday, Renner Onana said. A local priest said he saw that two humanitarian workers and the new head of an educational center were among the dead. He spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear for his safety. Central African Republic descended into conflict in 2013 when Seleka rebels overthrew the Christian president.
That ushered in a brutal reign in which the rebels committed atrocities. When the rebel leader left power, a backlash by the Christian anti-Balaka militia against Muslim civilians followed, and sectarian violence has continued. Hundreds of Seleka fighters have regrouped in Kaga-Bandoro, along with Muslim civilians, after fleeing the capital, Bangui, two years ago. Many ex-Seleka have formed a new group known by its French acronym FRPC, or Popular Front for the Rebirth of Central African Republic, under the leadership of a former top Seleka official named Noureddine Adam. Faced with rising insecurity in Kaga-Bandoro, the UN mission has said a more permanent police force of Mauritanians will take over in January from Burundi peacekeepers. Fighting between rival rebel groups in mid-September killed 19 people in nearby Ndomete and five others in Kaga-Bandoro.
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