BANGUI, Central African Republic (AP) — Inter-communal fighting has killed at least three people in the capital of Central African Republic, residents and the United Nations said Friday.
Several others were wounded and houses burned during Thursday night's violence in Bangui's PK5 neighborhood, the U.N. Mission in Central African Republic said. Mission spokesman Hamadoun Toure said peacekeepers arrived and the fighting stopped.
Resident Sam Gounoumoundjou said the fighting between Muslim ex-Seleka rebels and the Christian militia group known as anti-Balaka began after an attack on Muslim boys playing soccer.
"The clash began with a simple act of provocation, an attack with Kalashnikovs on a group of young Muslim boys playing soccer on a field not far from Yakite, a non-Muslim stronghold," he said.
The ex-Seleka rebels and anti-Balaka, however, denied responsibility for fighting.
Sectarian clashes between rival Christian and Muslim militias have flared recently. Similar fighting in the capital in late September broke out after a young Muslim's dead body was found near a mosque. The fighting then killed at least 71 people and injured 400, according to a new count from the Ministry of Public Health.
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.
Doctors Without Borders said that its compound in Bangassou in the Mbomou province was attacked late Wednesday night, seriously injuring a staff member whose condition is stable after emergency surgery.
Four staff members were kidnapped and released after 30 minutes, the group said.
"I strongly condemn this attack and call on all armed groups to respect the life and freedom of movement of humanitarian workers who are providing assistance to people affected by the crisis," said Humanitarian Coordinator Aurelien A. Agbenonci.
The U.N. also condemned the attack.