At least 28 killed in Central African Republic violence: officials

Police officers arrive to patrol in the streets of Bangui on Dec 12, 2014. At least 28 people were killed and dozens were injured in the latest clashes between armed groups in the Central African Republic, police said on Thursday. -- PHOTO: REUT
Police officers arrive to patrol in the streets of Bangui on Dec 12, 2014. At least 28 people were killed and dozens were injured in the latest clashes between armed groups in the Central African Republic, police said on Thursday. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BANGUI, Central African Republic (AFP) - At least 28 people were killed and dozens were injured in the latest clashes between armed groups in the Central African Republic, police said on Thursday.

"Violent clashes broke out on Tuesday in the centre of Mbres," an official from the armed police told AFP, adding that the death toll had been given by the local Red Cross.

The clashes in the former French colony were the latest pitting the so-called "anti-balaka" militia formed by the Christian majority against mainly Muslim rebels who led a March 2013 coup, the official said.

Mbres, 300km from the capital Bangui, has been the scene of several clashes in recent weeks.

Central African Republic has suffered numerous coups and bouts of instability since independence in 1960, but the March 2013 toppling of Francois Bozize's regime by the Seleka rebel coalition triggered the worst emergency to date.

Relentless attacks by the mainly Muslim rebels on the majority Christian population spurred the formation of vigilante groups, who in turn began exacting revenge on Muslim civilians, driving them out of most parts of the country.

Several thousand people were killed in the tit-for-tat attacks, which plunged the population of 4.8 million into an unprecedented humanitarian crisis.