Clash among Seleka rebels in CAR kills 17

Bangui - Seventeen people have been killed in fighting between Seleka rebels in the north of Central African Republic, the military spokesperson for the rebels said on Tuesday.

Three people were also wounded in the clashes that started on Monday in the rebel stronghold of Bambari, Captain Ahamat Najat said. He did not give a reason for the feuding.

The former French colony has been gripped by violence since Seleka, a coalition of mostly Muslim rebels and some fighters from neighbouring Chad and Sudan, seized power in March 2013.

Their rule was marked by abuses that prompted a backlash from Christian militia. Violence continued after the resignation of Seleka leader Michel Djotodia from the presidency in January.

Most Muslims have fled the south of the country in the face of violence, creating a de facto partition. Some members of the Seleka leadership have pushed for this to be formalised.

Roughly 2 000 French and 6 000 African Union peacekeepers have been deployed to Central African Republic, but they have struggled to help the weak transitional government stamp its authority on the country.