10 people were killed in the Central African Republic (CAR) town of Bambari, in an incident that began when a mainly Christian militia group, beheaded a Muslim youth leading to reprisals from Muslims, witnesses say.

The incident underscores instability in a country divided along religious lines by violence in 2014 as Christian gangs called the anti-balaka drove Muslims from their homes in the south.

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Capt. Ahmat Nejad, spokesman for the mainly Muslim Seleka faction, said in Bambari on Sunday that two young Muslims leaving the city on Thursday, were detained by anti-balakas who beheaded one and wounded another.

He said this triggered the anger of young Muslims who have carried out reprisals against Christians.

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Meanwhile, Father Félicien Endjimoyo, of the Diocese of Bambari, said more than16 people were killed, but it was not certain that the perpetrators of the initial attack were anti-balaka militia, since the town is controlled by Muslims.

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There was no immediate comment from the government or UN peacekeepers.

Violence broke out in the former French colony in March 2013 when Seleka rebels seized power.

The anti-balaka carried out reprisal attacks killing thousands. Around a million people have been displaced by the fighting. (Reuters/NAN)