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Rebel gunmen kill 34 in CAR

By on August 17, 2014

Rebels armed with guns and knives killed 34 people in Central African Republic, hanging some civilians and slitting others’ throats in a series of attacks this week, officials said.

The latest attacks were reported in a remote strip of territory about 350 km (220 miles) north of Bangui, sandwiched between the Muslim-dominated north and the Christian south.

Fighters from the Seleka insurgent group, sometimes backed by herdsmen, raided small central settlements, said authorities, more than a year after a coup plunged the impoverished country into sectarian violence.

Seleka said it would look into the accusations. Spokesman Ahmat Nejad said anyone found guilty should be punished.

“Three young people were hanged on Wednesday afternoon. Other villagers were assassinated in the town centre,” he said, adding that he had fled to the nearby town of Kaga-Bandora with hundreds of others.

Rights groups accused Seleka of widespread killings and other abuses after it took power.

“Anti-balaka” militias took up arms in response to the violence, carrying out their own wave of sectarian killings, said activists, and pushing the rebels and thousands of Muslims northwards.

President Catherine Samba Panza’s cabinet stepped down on August 5. The new prime minister Mahamat Kamoun, a Muslim, took office on August 14 and is seeking to form a government.

Central African Republic has reserves of gold, diamonds, uranium but has been rocked by a series of coups and clashes since its independence in 1960.

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