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Hostages freed from mosque in Central African Republic

Hostages freed from mosque in Central African Republic

Preliminary information reported that displaced civilians sought refuge at a mosque, a Catholic church and a hospital.

A Moroccan peacekeeper was killed in Saturday's attack by some 700 anti-Balaka rebels who targeted Bangassou's Muslim district of Tokoyo and the United Nations base.

Many residents say they are locked in their homes as the anti-Balaka forces control the city.

It said the attackers were members of a wide coalition including the mainly Christian anti-Balaka group who "attacked civilian populations, targeting in particular Muslims", another sign of the continuing sectarian violence that has ravaged the country. But sporadic gunfire rang out Sunday evening, and they had not retreated by Monday.

Doctors Without Borders said at least 21 people were wounded but access to the area is needed to determine the full toll.

Earlier, "armed men proceeded to destroy all of the bridges in Bangassou and had occupied the roads", according to a statement by the U.N.'s humanitarian coordination agency.

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The Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of MINUSCA Parfait Onanga-Anyanga vigorously condemned the attack, adding that "MINUSCA will do everything in its power together with the legitimate Central African authorities to arrest the perpetrators of these terrible acts". Violence by armed groups has risen sharply since late previous year. In the same vein, he urged Central African Republic authorities to investigate these attacks and bring the perpetrators before justice.

The latest attack came just hours after the United Nations held a memorial ceremony to honour five peacekeepers killed on May 8 in a nearby village of Yogofongo by suspected militants connected with the anti-Balaka group.

"These recent incidents amply demonstrate that the situation in the Central African Republic is still fragile hence the need for continued and sustained regional and global support to overcome the challenges at hand", Guterres said.

In recent months, roaming militias spurred by ethnic and religious rivalries have stepped up violence despite pledges to take part in a government-led disarmament program. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.

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