Rebels have killed at least six soldiers in an attack on a military outpost in southeast Central African Republic, the latest reported incident in a decade-long conflict, a local official and a hospital director have said.
Members of an alliance of armed groups known as the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) assaulted a military camp on the outskirts of Bakouma town early on Thursday morning, said a local government official who did not wish to be named for security reasons.
Keep readinglist of 4 items
Six soldiers and four rebels were killed, he said.
The attack was confirmed by the head of a hospital in the nearby city of Bangassou, also on condition of anonymity, where bodies and wounded soldiers were taken.
Mineral-rich Central African Republic has been mired in violence since a coalition of mainly Muslim Seleka rebels deposed then-President Francois Bozize in 2013, sparking reprisals from mostly Christian militias.
In recent years the army, backed by United Nations peacekeepers, Russian and Rwandan troops – has been battling CPC fighters seeking to overturn the outcome of an election in December 2020 that saw President Faustin-Archange Touadéra clinch a second term.
The UN has accused all parties of abuses including summary killings, torture, conflict-related sexual violence and the use of child fighters among others.
It has lost more than 160 peacekeepers in a conflict that has displaced more than one million people.
A Special Criminal Court set up in 2015 to prosecute war crimes committed in the country kicked off its first trial last week.