Bandits in the Central African Republic have reportedly killed three people they had taken hostage.
Five people - including the mayor of the north-western town of Koui - were kidnapped in February by bandits who demanded ransoms.
Two of the hostages were released after their families paid some of the money.
The three bodies, which were found by nomads, have not been formally identified and a local official expressed shock at their killing.
There has been growing insecurity in the country's northern region, with armed gangs kidnapping people for ransom payments.
In another incident, two doctors and their associates were abducted in February and held for eight days before they were released.
Last year, the human rights body Amnesty International said armed gangs were seizing children for ransom payments in the region.
Clashes between government forces and rebels have displaced more than 280,000 people in the troubled north.