Armed men gun down 12

BANGUI. – Armed men killed 12 people in villages in Central African Republic, local officials said yesterday, in the first violence since Faustin-Archange Touadera was confirmed as president last Tuesday after an election many hoped would help end attacks. The attacks took place near the central town of Bambari and were likely linked to livestock rustling or an inter-ethnic dispute involving the Peuhl, or Fulani, ethnic group, the officials said.

The violence did not appear directly connected to the political, communal and religious killings involving militia groups that since 2013 have left thousands dead, forced many more to flee their homes and left the northern half of the country effectively partitioned.

In the latest attack late on Saturday, six people were killed in three different villages, the authorities said.

“Three women from the same family had their throats slit six kilometres (four miles) from the town,” Amassaka Topi, a local counsellor and youth leader in Bambari told Reuters by telephone.

The constitutional court confirmed former mathematics professor Touadera’s victory on Tuesday following a run-off election on February 14, setting the stage for him to be sworn in later on March 25.

Touadera has pledged to make peace and disarmament his priorities.

Bambari has seen numerous attacks in the last year despite the presence of UN peacekeepers. The United Nations designated it a weapons-free zone last September, but the former rebel group called the Seleka and the anti-Balaka militia retain an armed presence in the town. The country suffered the worst crisis in its history in early 2013 when the mainly Muslim Seleka fighters toppled the then president. Christian so-called anti-Balaka militias responded by attacking the Muslim minority. – Reuters.

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