UN Peacekeepers Attacked Amid Central African Republic Violence

A United Nations peacekeeper was killed and eight others were injured in an attack on a military convoy by armed militia in the capital of the Central African Republic.

The UN convoy was patrolling a neighborhood known as PK11 in the capital, Bangui, when “unknown perpetrators” staged an ambush, the spokesman for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement on the UN website. The assault is the first since the UN took over peacekeeping duties from an African Union mission in September, the statement said.

The UN mission said in a separate statement yesterday that “violent demonstrations” were held for two days in front of its compound in Bangui. UN vehicles had been shot at and pelted with stones, the statement said.

At least 12 people died this week in the worst outbreak of sectarian violence in the capital since a July cease-fire between rival armed militia groups. Fighting between mainly Christian anti-balaka militia and residents of a mainly Muslim neighborhood flared after a Muslim man was killed three days ago.

The anti-balaka militia called for the resignation of the transitional government earlier this week. It has erected roadblocks across Bangui, including in PK11, Maurice Polou, a local leader, said by phone. Shops are shuttered and public transportation has been halted.

The Central African Republic has been gripped by violence since a March 2013 coup that brought President Michel Djotodia, a Muslim, to power. His resignation last year triggered reprisal attacks by anti-balaka militia, and the country is now partitioned, according to the UN.

The UN aims to deploy about 11,800 troops and police. France said it’s sending most of its 2,000 soldiers to the volatile east and central regions.

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