Human Rights Watch on Thursday condemned the execution of 32 civilians by a rebel group in Central African Republic's southern province of Ouaka.
"These executions are brazen war crimes by [Union for Peace in Central African Republic] UPC fighters who feel free to kill at will," said Lewis Mudge, Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch.
"The group is carrying out its killing sprees with no fear of punishment, despite the presence of United Nations peacekeepers," he added.
The report said on Dec. 12 the group "executed 25 people after calling them to a school for an alleged meeting. Earlier that day, UPC fighters executed seven men who were returning from a nearby gold mine."
It added that some witnesses were forced by the UPC fighters to get rid of the bodies.
"The total number of victims is most likely higher than the 32 people executed and the 29 civilians killed during clashes because dozens of other people are unaccounted for, family members of the missing people say," HRW said.
The revelations came following the appointment of Col. Toussaint Muntazini Mukimapa, from the Democratic Republic of Congo as the general prosecutor of the Special Criminal Court.
The court was established in June 2015 to investigate into serious human rights violations in the country. The court is made up of international judges and prosecutors.
"The court should now be further staffed without delay, so it can begin investigations and prosecutions," HRW said.
The rights group added: "Tensions between the Union for Peace in Central African Republic (UPC) and the Popular Front for the Renaissance in the Central African Republic (FPRC), another rebel group drawn from the predominantly Muslim Seleka fighters, began escalating late last year."
Approximately 10,000 people have fled fighting between the UPC and the FPRC -- both groups former members of the mostly Muslim Seleka rebel movement -- in Ouaka province since late November 2016, the report said.
Violence erupted in CAR between pro-Christian and pro-Muslim fighters in 2013. -