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Deadly CAR Clash

\FILE: Central African Republic President Faustin Archange Touadera (R) is seen during the anniversary of the one year of mandate at the national assembly in Bangui on March 30, 2022.
\FILE: Central African Republic President Faustin Archange Touadera (R) is seen during the anniversary of the one year of mandate at the national assembly in Bangui on March 30, 2022.

Fighting between the army and rebels over a town in the Central African Republic has left seven civilians dead and six injured, AFP reports.

Members of major rebel group UPC launched an attack on Thursday near the town of Bakouma, around 480 kilometers east of the capital Bangui, local sub-prefect Pierre Gbake told AFP.

The victims were caught up in the attack as the rebels, coming from a town near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, tried to capture Bakouma before being repelled by the army, he added.

Civil war has plagued the CAR, one of the world's poorest countries, since a Muslim-dominated armed coalition called the Seleka ousted former president Francois Bozize in 2013.

Bozize raised his own predominantly Christian and animist militias, known as the anti-Balaka, to regain power.

Civilians are often victims of the conflict, with the United Nations accusing all sides of perpetrating war crimes and crimes against humanity.

UPC spokesman Ousmanou Mohamadou did not confirm or deny his group was behind the attack, telling AFP the authorities "spend their time telling tales to the Central African people".

But he added that taking Bakouma was "not ruled out" if the time was right.

The government did not respond to an AFP request for comment.

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