Officials say at least 22 civilians have been killed amid fighting in a town in Central African Republic. Augustin Freddy Ndoukoulouba, a lawmaker from the area, said fierce fighting erupted Thursday between Muslim rebels and Christian militia fighters in the town of Mala. Mala is located in the country's increasingly unstable north-central region. Ndoukoulouba said Monday that Mala is now so volatile that people have been unable to bury the dead and that the wounded have been left to fend for themselves. He said most of the town's residents have fled into the surrounding countryside and the Muslim rebels appeared to be in control of the community Monday. Central African Republic exploded into sectarian violence in December. Thousands of French and African peacekeepers are trying to help stabilize the country.