U.N. Patrol Is Attacked in Central Africa

U.N. Patrol Is Attacked in Central Africa

An armed group fired at a United Nations police patrol that was monitoring a protest near the airport in the capital of the Central African Republic on Friday, wounding six constables, a United Nations peacekeeping official said.

The shootings followed an attack on a United Nations convoy in the capital, Bangui, on Thursday that killed a Pakistani peacekeeper. It was the first death of a peacekeeper since the United Nations mission took over from an African Union force in September. Another peacekeeper was wounded, and several others, all from Pakistan or Bangladesh, were slightly injured in that attack.

The Central African Republic has been devastated by months of violence between Christians and Muslims that has sent thousands of Muslims fleeing the country. At least 5,000 people have died.

The violence in Bangui this week has been the most severe since the United Nations force took over. The International Committee of the Red Cross said Thursday that there were “many casualties.”

On Friday, about 300 unarmed youths occupied the runway at the airport in Bangui to demand the resignation of the transitional president, Catherine Samba-Panza, the United Nations official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

The United Nations police patrol was monitoring the protest when the armed group opened fire, the official said.

The wounded constables were evacuated by members of the peacekeeping mission, the official said.

Earlier on Friday, the United Nations Security Council condemned Thursday’s attack on the convoy “in the strongest terms” and said attacks on peacekeepers “may constitute a war crime.”

The Council also reiterated its resolve to impose sanctions on individuals and entities involved in planning, directing, sponsoring or conducting attacks against the United Nations mission and other security forces.

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