More than 50 people were reportedly killed in an attack by a militia on several villages in the Central African Republic's volatile northwest near the border with Chad, the United Nations said Thursday.
The UN peacekeeping mission in the country, known as MINUSMA, condemned Tuesday's attacks and its peacekeepers are undertaking "robust patrols in and around Ouham Pende prefecture" where the killings took place, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
The government issued an ultimatum to the leader of a militia group known as 3R, calling on him to hand over those responsible.
Government spokesman Ange-Maxime Kazagui says the group retaliated against several communities in the Ouham Pende prefecture after an incident in which one man was killed.
Lucien Mbaigoto, a legislator from the area, said that militia fighters on the ground are not abiding by the peace agreements signed by their leaders, including one in February.
Human rights groups have blamed the 3R group for killing and raping civilians since 2015.
UN spokesman Dujarric said a joint mission by MINUSCA, the government, the African Union, and the Economic Community of Central African States is expected to deploy to the affected areas on Saturday "to defuse tensions, assist victims and displaced persons and reassure communities."
He said MINUSCA and the government are also engaging on a local level dialogue "to ease tensions and prevent a retaliatory response by anti-Balaka," a group of militia groups that are mostly Christians and people who follow traditional animist beliefs.
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