BANGUI, Central African Republic (AP) — Sectarian violence in Central African Republic's capital has killed at least 36 people and injured at least 80, hospital workers said Sunday.
Fighting began early Saturday as Muslims attacked a Christian neighborhood in Bangui after the dead body of a Muslim man was left near a mosque, said Ousmane Abakar, a Muslim community leader.
At least 36 people had been killed and 80 wounded on Saturday and Sunday, according to workers at three hospitals who insisted on anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the press.
The government on Sunday announced a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew to curtail the violence.
Earlier Sunday Christian anti-Balaka militia members were on the streets, retaliating for Saturday's violence. Gunfire could be heard in two neighborhoods.
In other parts of Bangui, people erected barricades to block traffic, leaving only army and gendarmerie vehicles on the streets. Young people held a march with signs calling for peace.
"It's very sad to see violence of such a scale occur once again, as we haven't experienced anything like this since October last year," said Emmanuel Lampaert, head of Doctors Without Borders mission Central African Republic.
Security Minister Dominique Said Paguindji said on state radio Sunday that the violence was meant to upset the transitional government put in place in January 2014, as it prepares for October elections. Presidential and legislative elections are slated for Oct. 18.
Central African Republic erupted into widespread sectarian violence after the Muslim Seleka rebels overthrew the president in 2013 and the Christian anti-Balaka militiamen formed to combat them.