Rebels killed seven people in coordinated attacks on army positions in the east of the Central African Republic, the UN peacekeeping force in the conflict-ridden country said Wednesday.
The fighters of the Unity for Peace in Central Africa (UPC) rebel group mounted simultaneous attacks on army “checkpoints and camps” in the eastern city of Alindao, MUNISCA spokesman Abdoulaziz Fall told AFP, adding that the “clashes left seven dead”.
The peacekeepers forced back the rebels, who fell back three kilometres (two miles) from the two, Fall added.
“Currently the Central African armed forces are in place in the city with us,” he said. Around 60 Nepalese peacekeepers had been sent to the city as reinforcements, he added.
The UPC is one of the largest and best equipped rebel groups operating in the country, its members controlling many operating mines. It mainly operates in the east of the country.
CAR is the second least-developed country in the world according to the UN and suffers from the aftermath of a brutal civil conflict that erupted in 2013.
President Faustin Archange Touadera was re-elected in December on a turnout of fewer than one in three voters.
The ballot was hampered by armed groups that at the time controlled around two-thirds of the country, and rebels mounted an offensive in the runup to polling day.
Since then, the army, backed by UN peacekeepers, Rwandan special forces and Russian paramilitaries, has wrested much of the territory from rebel control.
The Central African Republic on Wednesday dismissed as “slanderous” allegations by UN experts who said government troops and Russian military personnel had committed rights abuses.