BANGUI: Gunmen killed about 15 people, including children, in an attack on a town in the Central African Republic near the Chadian border, a local official said Friday.
The raid in the town of Markounda Thursday was about 30 km from the site of an attack on a health clinic run by medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres last week in which 16 people were killed.
It coincided with a visit by U.N. peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous who is in the country for three days ahead of the deployment of a 12,000-strong mission in mid-September.
Despite the presence of French and African peacekeepers, thousands have died in inter-communal violence in the vast former French colony, and close to a million have been displaced.
Explosions were reported in eastern Markounda mid-afternoon and shortly afterwards a group of armed men wearing both military and civilian clothes entered the town and began looting and attacking residents, said the local official.
“Markounda is now empty as the inhabitants have fled into the bush, the fields and neighboring villages,” Lucien Mbaigoto, deputy prefect for the town, said.