Muslim-Christian Clash in Central African Republic Leaves 6 Dead

Six people were killed last week in Central African Republic in fighting between Muslim and Christian groups, the country's U.N. peacekeeping mission and the government said on Monday.

The violence on Friday pitted fighters from the mainly Muslim Seleka group against the Christian anti-Balaka militia in two northern towns, Ndomete and Kaga Bandoro.

"The Seleka (rebels) went door to door ... The village chief was among the victims," said Albert Mokpeme on Saturday when he put the death count at 26. "It was a massacre," Presidential spokesman Albert Mokpeme said on Saturday.

On Monday, Mokpeme cut the number of deaths to six, matching the U.N.'s toll.

"MINUSCA (the U.N. mission) can only confirm at this stage a total of six deaths," its spokesman Herve Verhoosel said, adding that the clashes were being investigated.

MINUSCA, dispatched troops to the area and separated the two groups. It said in a statement that it was reinforcing its positions in and around Kaga-Bandoro and stepping up patrols in an effort to protect civilians and prevent further violence.

"MINUSCA regrets the loss of human life and the wounded that were recorded and also denounces attacks against the humanitarian community and United Nations personnel," it said.

Central African Republic, which holds reserves of uranium, gold and diamonds, suffered the biggest crisis in its half-century of independence in early 2013 when Seleka toppled then-President Francois Bozize. In response, the anti-Balaka formed and attacked Muslims.

Inter-communal and inter-religious clashes have persisted over the past three years.

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