One peacekeeper killed, 11 wounded in C. Africa attack: UN

UN peacekeepers from Cameroon deployed to the Central African Republic stand guard during an inspection in the northwesten village of Bedaya in January 2018

United Nations (United States) (AFP) – A peacekeeper was killed and 11 others were wounded when a UN base came under heavy attack on Tuesday in the Central African Republic, the UN spokesman said.

Anti-balaka fighters launched the attack on the temporary UN base in Tagbara, near the southern city of Bambari, triggering heavy fighting, said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

“Peacekeepers fired back and after several hours of exchange of fire, one peacekeeper was killed and 11 others were injured,” said Dujarric.

UN peacekeepers “later discovered the bodies of 21 civilians, including 4 women and 4 children in Tagbara,” he said. It was not immediately clear if the civilians were caught in the fighting.

Reinforcements have been sent to Tagbara, which lies 60 kilometers (37 miles) northeast of Bambari.

The CAR has been struggling to return to stability since the country exploded into bloodshed after the 2013 overthrow of longtime leader Francois Bozize by the mainly Muslim Seleka rebel alliance.

France intervened militarily to push out the Seleka alliance, but the country — one of the poorest in the world — remains plagued by violence between ex-rebels and vigilante militias.