File picture: AFP

Bangui - Mainly Christian anti-Balaka rebels killed at least 25 Muslims inside a mosque in the town of Kembe in south-central Central African Republic.

The rebels surrounded and attacked the mosque in the early hours of Wednesday morning, Abdouraman Bornou, president of the council of elders of Kembe, said on Friday.

During the attack, the imam and his deputy were executed, Bornou said.

Local authorities ordered three days of mourning in the town.

The diamond-rich but poverty-stricken nation has been in crisis since late 2012, when violence broke out between Muslim and Christian rebel groups.

After a period of relative calm in 2016, fighting erupted again in early 2017 in various towns across the country.