At least seven people were killed and 29 others injured when UN peacekeepers clashed with members of the largely Muslim Seleka rebel group in Central African Republic, a local broadcaster reported Wednesday, although witnesses put the death toll at over 20.
The clashes erupted in the early hours of the morning after four armed Seleka members were interrupted when stealing a generator in the northern town of Kaga-Bandoro, according to the Radio Ndeke Luka news report. One of the armed men was killed during the hold-up.
“Seleka decided to retaliate, but our forces are on the ground,” the head of the UN peacekeeping mission in Kaga-Bandoro, Ako Renner, told the radio station.
Six civilians were killed during the clashes, according to Renner.
Witnesses told dpa via telephone however that at least 20 people were killed during the confrontation, with more than 50 others injured and over 100 houses burnt.
Diamond-rich but poverty-stricken CAR was plunged into more than two years of lawlessness after Seleka overthrew Christian president Francois Bozize in March 2013.
Since a new government was elected in February, with President Faustin Touadera at the helm, the situation in landlocked country somewhat stabilized.