August 2, 2015 / 10:19 AM / 2 years ago

U.N. peacekeeper killed in clashes in Central African Republic: spokesman

BANGUI (Reuters) - At least one soldier with the U.N. peackeeping mission in Central African Republic was killed on Sunday during clashes with armed assailants in a northern neighborhood of the capital Bangui, a spokesman for the mission said.

Residents said heavy machinegun fire was heard around 3 a.m. (0200 GMT) and it continued for several hours in the mostly Muslim district of PK5, where some inhabitants had set up barricades and were burning tires.

"The mission launched an operation to arrest a person wanted by the judicial services for various crimes. Our forces came under heavy fire. One MINUSCA peacekeeper was killed and several others where wounded," the spokesman said by telephone from Bangui.

Central African Republic descended into chaos in March 2013 when predominantly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power, triggering reprisals by "anti-balaka" Christian militia who drove tens of thousands of Muslims from the south in a de facto partition.

A transitional authority has been set up to organize elections on October 18 and restoring democratic rule.

Though attacks in the capital have eased in recent months, sporadic violence still occurs across the country.

Reporting by Sebastien Lamba; Additional reporting by Bate Felix in Dakar; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Raissa Kasolowsky

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