The death toll in the Central African Republic (CAR) has risen to almost 70 in just four days, according to a peacekeeping officer, following a surge of violence in the country.

The unnamed official said the death toll was still provisional because they have not been able to access the entire area.

"Nearly 70 people have been killed since Monday in violence in Bambari and the nearby villages, at least a hundred people have been injured and around 150 houses have been burnt down," a member of the African peacekeeping force MISCA told AFP news agency on Thursday.

The killings took place near the central town of Barbari, which has seen a series of bloody clashes between mainly Muslim ex-Seleka rebels and Christian militias, known as the anti-Balaka.

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Earlier in the week the same officer said that many of those who had been killed had been shot or stabbed to death, and that clashes "appear to be coordinated attacks by armed groups," both from Christian and Muslim militias.

The area has experienced a surge in violence since the killing of 17 Muslims at a camp in the region on Monday, by assailants claiming to be from a mostly Christian militia.

A spokesman from the militia denied that they were behind the attack, but the killings led to an outbreak of reprisal attacks and caused many civilians to flee their homes to seek refuge.

In Bangui on Thursday, some residents were calling for a three-day period of mourning for the victims.

CAR has seen more than a year of unrest since the Seleka seized power in a coup in March 2013, installing their leader as president until he resigned last January, giving way to a transitional regime.

Armed ex-Seleka rebels from the Muslim community and Christian militias have been accused of causing thousands of deaths, with the violence leading to as many as a quarter of the population being displaced.

Source: Agencies