Central African Republic violence kills 45 over 3 months

People wait for a polling station to open before casting their ballots during elections in Bangui, Central African Republic, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015. Thousands in Central African Republic's capital voted Wednesday in national elections with hope that a new president will lead to greater stability after years of violence. (AP Photo/Herve Serefio Diaspora)

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Human Rights Watch says armed groups targeting civilians in the Central African Republic have killed at least 45 people and displaced 11,000 in the past three months.

The rights group said Tuesday that two factions are vying for control of the central part of the country. It says one predominantly Peul faction of the mostly Muslim Seleka group has been fighting since late 2016 with another faction that has aligned itself with the Christian anti-Balaka group.

The latest fighting began in February when anti-Balaka fighters killed a group of Peul civilians.

The Central African Republic descended into a sectarian conflict in 2013. Attacks in Ouaka province persist despite the deployment of 1,000 United Nations peacekeeping forces to the area.