Mayor: 34 killed as Muslim rebels attack Central African Republic villages

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BANGUI, Central African Republic — A local official says Muslim rebels in Central African Republic have killed at least 34 people over the last week in a series of attacks on remote villages.

The violence comes as the country wracked by conflict awaits the arrival of a U.N. peacekeeping mission next month.

Bienvenu Sarapata, mayor of the Mbres commune north of the capital, Bangui, said Saturday that the attacks were committed by former members of the Seleka alliance that ruled the country for 10 months.

The Seleka fighters left power in January and they have regrouped in the northern part of the country in recent months, launching new attacks.

Witnesses in Mbres say the rebels threatened to assault other villages in the coming weeks before the U.N. peacekeepers arrive on the ground in mid-September.

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