UN: Firepower escalates in Central African Republic conflict

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — A top U.N. official in Central African Republic says the latest upsurge in deadly violence saw the first use of heavy weapons and more sophisticated military tactics by a predominantly Christian armed group.

U.N. deputy special representative Diane Corner said in a video news conference Thursday that more than 150 people, including six U.N. peacekeepers, have been killed and over 20,000 have been displaced since May 8 in southeastern Bangassou, southern Alindao and northern Bria.

Corner says the fighting is "more complex" than a renewal of sectarian violence between Christians and Muslims that has plagued the country since late 2013.

She says that "it looks as if someone has been financing" the heavy weapons, including mortars and grenade launchers. She says the money is likely coming from within the country.