Clashes in Central African Republic town leave 25 dead

October 29, 2016 6:13 AM EDT

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BANGUI (Reuters) - Clashes between militia groups in the Central African Republic have killed 25 people including six gendarmes caught in an ambush, the U.N. peacekeeping mission to the country, MINUSCA, said on Saturday.

MINUSCA condemned the violence around the central town of Bambari and appealed to the two militia groups behind the clashes to respond to an invitation by President Faustin-Archange Touadéra for talks.

"Six gendarmes and four civilians lost their lives on Friday morning in an ambush on the Bambari-Grimari road. The day before, clashes between elements of the anti-Balaka and ex-Seleka caused 15 deaths and a number of wounded," MINUSCA said.

There was no immediate comment from the government or the militia groups.

Central African Republic has been plagued by inter-religious and inter-communal violence since 2013 when the mainly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power, prompting reprisals from the anti-Balaka militia, which draws some of its fighters from the country's Christian population.

The level of violence has reduced since an election in February that brought President Faustin-Archange Touadéra to power and was touted as a step toward reconciliation but it remains frequent.

(Writing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg; Editing by Stephen Powell)



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