Gunmen have killed a dozen villagers in the Central African Republic in the first violent incident since Faustin - Archange Touadera took office as president this week. Local officials said on Sunday the attacks took place in three different villages near the central town of Bambari and were likely linked to livestock theft or inter-ethnic disputes. Bambari has seen numerous attacks in the last year despite the presence of United Nations peacekeepers. The UN designated the city a weapons-free zone last September, but the Seleka rebels and the anti-Balaka militia continue their armed presence in the town. Touadera has pledged to focus on peace and disarmament in his government. The constitutional court confirmed former mathematics professor Touadera's victory on Tuesday following a run-off election on February 14, setting the stage for him to be sworn in later on March 25. The CAR has been hit by turmoil since 2013, when Christian armed groups launched coordinated attacks against the mostly Muslim Seleka group that had toppled the government in March that year. In December 2013, France deployed military forces to the CAR, a former French colony, after the UN Security Council gave the go-ahead to sending troops to the country. However, violence has not ended. According to the latest UN estimates, the conflict in the CAR has internally displaced 399,000 people and forced more than 460,000 to flee to neighboring countries. The UN World Food Program (WFP) announced in late January that the three-year crisis in toll has taken a huge toll with half the total population facing hunger.