UN employee kidnapped in capital of Central African Republic

UN employee kidnapped in capital of Central African Republic
Soldiers of the European Union Force RCA (EUFOR RCA) patrol in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, on January 19, 2015, after two aid workers, including a 67-year-old French woman, were kidnapped in the capital

Armed men kidnapped a female UN employee in the capital of the strife-torn Central African Republic on Tuesday, a day after two aid workers were seized, said a source with the UN force.

The gunmen, who appeared to be linked to the mainly Christian militia known as the anti-balaka, seized the woman from a van taking UN staffers to work in Bangui, the source with the UN's Minusca force in the country said on condition of anonymity. "The kidnappers first wanted to put her on a motorcycle, but she resisted," the source said.

"They then forced her into a taxi which took off in the direction" of a neighbourhood in which the Christian militia is active. The woman was said to be an expatriate, but her nationality was not immediately clear.

On Monday, a 67-year-old French woman and a local man were kidnapped in central Bangui, reportedly by anti-balaka militia who are angry at the arrest of one of their leaders by UN peacekeepers on Saturday.

Rodrigue Nagibona, alias General Andjilo, who was accused of masterminding a massacre of some 300 minority Muslims in December 2013 and who had been on the run for several months, was detained in the country's northwest. Violence between rival factions has plunged the deeply impoverished country into an unprecedented political and security crisis.

The unrest began when a coalition of mostly Muslim Seleka members mounted a coup in March 2013, installing the former French colony's first Muslim president, Michel Djotodia. Many Seleka fighters then went on rampages, sparking the rise of the so-called anti-balaka vigilante groups in mainly Christian communities.

Both Seleka and anti-balaka fighters have been accused of serious abuses and atrocities. Anti-balaka means "anti-machete" in the local Sango language and refers to the weapon of choice wielded by the Seleka - but also taken up by the vigilantes.

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