Eight killed in Central African Republic days after Pope's visit

Pope Francis (right) greets children during a visit to a refugee camp in Bangui.
Pope Francis (right) greets children during a visit to a refugee camp in Bangui.PHOTO: EPA

BANGUI (REUTERS) - Armed men in the Central African Republic killed eight civilians at a camp for displaced people and wounded one UN peacekeeper, just days after the Pope visited the capital, the country's UN humanitarian coordinator said on Friday.

The attacks took place at Ngakobo, about 60km south of the central town of Bambari on Thursday, coordinator Aurelien Agbenonci said in a statement.

Pope Francis visited a mosque in the capital on Monday to implore Christians and Muslims to end a spiral of hate, vendetta and bloodshed that has killed thousands over the past three years and divided the nation.

Central African Republic turned violent in early 2013 when mainly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power in the majority Christian country, sparking reprisals from Christian militias.

Leaders from both sides say the hatred has been manipulated for political gain.

One result of the violence was the expulsion of Muslims from parts of the south towards the centre and north of the country which is now effectively controlled by Muslim groups.