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UN Condemns Killing of Peacekeeper in CAR

FILE - African peacekeeping mission troops known as MISCA, listen to U.S Ambassador to the U.N Samantha Power in Bangui, Central African Republic, April 9, 2014.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the killing of a U.N. peacekeeper in the Central African Republic (C.A.R.) who died Sunday after being attacked by gunmen in the country's capital.

The U.N. said troops from MINUSCA, its mission in the C.A.R., were conducting a search to arrest a suspected criminal in Bangui when the armed group attacked, killing the peacekeeper and injuring eight others.

"The Secretary-General deplores in the strongest terms attacks against United Nations peacekeepers and calls for swift action to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice," Ban's spokesman said. "He further calls on all armed groups to respect the impartiality of MINUSCA."

The U.N. force took over from an African Union peacekeeping mission nearly a year ago with a mandate to protect civilians and support a political transition in the C.A.R., which is due to hold elections in October.

The crisis there began in 2013 when predominantly Muslim rebels ousted President Francois Bozize's government and committed widespread rights abuses. In response, Christian militias formed, setting off sectarian fighting that pushed hundreds of thousands of Muslim civilians to neighboring countries.