Fighting claims 23 lives in Central African Republic

Fighting between rival armed groups in the Central African Republic (CAR) left at least 23 people dead and scores wounded, according to the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the country (MINUSCA).

The clashes between the Popular Front for the Renaissance of the Central African Republic and the Movement of Central African Freedom Fighters for Justice took place in Birao, near the Sudanese border, according to Al-Jazeera.

The two groups, who also fought in Birao earlier this month, were among 14 armed groups that in February signed a peace deal with the government of the conflict-ravaged country.

In a statement late on Saturday, MINUSCA Spokesman Vladimir Monteiro said “the situation remains tense but there is no more fighting”.

He added that a MINUSCA peacekeeper “was slightly wounded”, without specifying the individual’s nationality.

A Zambian contingent of the multinational force is stationed in the area.

On September 5, President of the Central African Republic Faustin-Archange Touadera stated that the accord was “quite strong” but the renewed clashes raised further concerns about its effectiveness in ending the violence after years of conflict following the toppling of then-President Francois Bozize in 2013.

Previous peace agreements signed in 2014, 2015 and 2017 broke down.