Muslim militants killed 26 civilians in a predominantly Christian village in the Central African Republic (CAR) after going door-to-door seeking out Christians to slaughter, Morning Star News reported.
In what was reportedly the worst violence in the country for months, rebels from the former Seleka group – an alliance of rebel militia factions that overthrew the CAR government in March 2013 – attacked the village of Ndomete, about 220 miles north of the capital city of Bangui on Friday.
Hostility between Seleka, officially disbanded in 2013, and Christian "anti-Balaka" militias – who emerged after the 2013 coup - has increased in the past year, but government and UN officials said the attack targeted civilians.
One Christian leader from the area cast doubt on the country's ability to bring order, telling Morning Star News: "If the government is not going to beef up the security, then we are going to defend ourselves. We shall not keep quiet as our brothers are dying."
Fighting between Muslims and Christians worsened in 2013, when Seleka deposed the then-President Francois Bozize and installed Michel Djotodia, a Muslim. Djotodia announced the disbanding of Seleka in September 2013, but rebels have since rampaged throughout the country, killing Christians and political enemies. Christian militia groups have formed in response.
Human Rights Watch has documented executions, rape and looting by ex-Seleka fighters. In May 2014, rebels killed 11 people in a grenade and shooting attack at the Church of Fatima in Bangui.
In February, the former prime minister Faustin-Archange Touadera was elected president, bringing hope that political and religious conflict would subside. But rebel and militia fighters are still active throughout the country outside the capital.