4 killed in fresh clashes in C.African capital

4 killed in fresh clashes in C.African capital

At least four people have been killed in fighting between the army and militias in the capital of Central African Republic, sources said on Friday.

The clashes erupted in Bangui's mainly Muslim PK5 district -- an area that has become a flashpoint in the troubled country, already weakened by sectarian violence and dogged by militias.

The fighting started when a "PK5 fighter fired on the security and defence forces" at around 1600 (1500 GMT) on Thursday, a local resident told AFP, with battles going on for two hours.

The bodies of three people were brought to the neighbourhood's Ali Babolo mosque, the local imam said, and a taxi driver was also killed, according to a medical source. 

More than 20 people were injured.

It was unclear Friday whether the people killed and wounded were civilians, soldiers or militia fighters.

The distinction between fighters and civilians is sometimes difficult to make in the PK5 district, a major economic hub which has been a battleground on and off for years.

One of the world's poorest countries, the CAR spiralled into bloodshed after longtime leader Francois Bozize was overthrown in 2013 by a predominantly Muslim rebel alliance called the Seleka.

Nominally Christian militias called the anti-Balaka emerged in response, accelerating a cycle of sectarian violence.

France intervened militarily from 2013 to 2016 to push out the Seleka, winding down the operation after Faustin-Archange Touadera was elected president.

Touadera governs today with the support of a large UN peacekeeping operation, but most of the country is controlled by ex-rebels and militias.