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Attacks in Central African Republic Kill 1 Peacekeeper

The U.N. peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic said Monday that a Burundian peacekeeper was killed and several government soldiers were wounded in separate attacks over the weekend.

The mission said Monday that armed elements attacked a U.N. patrol in Bambari on Sunday, killing one peacekeeper and wounding another.

The U.N. mission also said members of the armed group Unity and Peace in the Central African Republic attacked a troop convoy heading from Ouaka prefecture to Bangassou in the southeast Sunday.

Defense Minister Marie Noelle Koyara said two soldiers and a Russian instructor were wounded. She said five attackers were killed.

The defense minister called for armed groups to honor an accord meant to facilitate the deployment of security forces to protect civilians.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the attack in Bambari, saying the latest death brought to five the number of peacekeepers killed in targeted attacks in the Central African Republic since January.

Guterres reiterated "that attacks against United Nations peacekeepers may constitute a war crime and that sanctions can be applied against the perpetrators'' and urged authorities in the African nation "to spare no effort in investigating and identifying the perpetrators so that they can be swiftly brought to justice," U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

The secretary-general reaffirmed his "unwavering support" to the U.N. mission and its efforts to protect civilians, Dujarric said.