Local officials reported that gunmen killed 13 civilians in an attack on a remote village in the troubled Central African Republic (CAR) on Tuesday.
Regional prefect Jean Gilbert Gbangoudou stated that approximately 20 rebels launched an attack on Diki, a village near the Chadian border in the northwest of the country, on Monday.
The village mayor, Ibrahim Senoussi, verified the death toll and further confirmed that two individuals were wounded in the attack.
According to local deputy Aline Aziza, the assault occurred approximately 22 kilometers (14 miles) from an army base in Bamingui-Bangoran prefecture.
According to Senoussi, the rebels assembled “the men of the village, saying they wanted to talk to them,” but instead, they opened fire on the gathered civilians.
“The women and children then fled into the bush.”
The CAR, landlocked and abundant in minerals, yet significantly impoverished, stands as one of the world’s most tumultuous countries, grappling with a decade-long burden of civil strife.
The violence occurred one day after a referendum on a new constitution that would permit President Faustin-Archange Touadera, aged 66, to pursue a third term in office.
The main opposition parties, civil groups, and armed rebels collectively urged voters to boycott the referendum, alleging that Touadera aimed to become president for life.
The proposed constitution seeks to extend the presidential mandate from five to seven years and eliminate the two-term limit.
In 2020, Touadera secured a second five-year term after an election marred by an offensive launched by armed rebel groups.
The rebel groups were thwarted by hundreds of Rwandan troops and operatives from Russia’s Wagner mercenary force, who have largely driven the insurgents into rural regions.