At least 25 people have been killed in a series of clashes between armed groups over one week, in escalating violence in the Central African Republic.
The UN said on Tuesday that thousands of people continue to be uprooted and forced to flee for their lives in resurgent fighting between rival factions in various parts of the country.
In its weekly report released on Tuesday, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that preliminary estimates indicate at least 10 people were killed and 50 others wounded in fighting between rival factions in the central town of Bria between September 7-8.
In Yokapi, a village in the country’s east, around 15 people were killed and some 80 houses torched in a violent confrontation between two communities, OCHA added.
OCHA’s death toll is in addition to at least six people killed since last Thursday in Batangafo, a northwestern town where more than 28,000 are without aid, according to several humanitarian sources.
If tensions continue to escalate, the UN warns, the country could fall into larger-scale conflict.
The UN’s comments come days after human rights group Amnesty International warned that civilians in central areas of the country were enduring “a horrifying surge in torture, pillage and forced displacement”.
The Central African Republic, a former French colony, fell into a protracted political crisis in 2013 after President Francois Bozize was overthrown by a coalition of Muslim-majority rebel groups called the Seleka, who in turn were driven from power.
Seleka’s abuses against the Christian population led to the emergence of self-defence groups – the Anti-Balaka – which embarked on their own campaign of violence.
Muslims were shunned, forced to flee into enclaves and displaced camps or into neighbouring countries.