Muslim rebels stormed a Catholic church in the Central African Republic capital on Wednesday, killing up to 30 people including a priest, according to some reports.
Fighters broke into the Notre-Dame de Fatima church compound in Bangui, launching grenades and spraying civilians with gunfire. At least five bodies were brought to area hospitals, though some witnesses said the death toll could be as high as 30.
The attack on the compound at the church, where thousands of civilians had sought refuge from the violence ravaging Bangui’s streets, is the largest by Muslim fighters since their Seleka coalition was ousted from power nearly five months ago, according to the Associated Press.
Since then a transitional government has taken over, with elections planned no later than February 2015. Continuing violence and unrest threaten to prevent the election, observers say.
The crisis in Central African Republic has forced nearly 1 million people from their homes, and at one point nearly 100,000 sought shelter on the grounds of the Bangui airport, which has been guarded by French and now other European peacekeepers.