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UN Worker Kidnapped, Released in CAR

Map of Central African Republic
Map of Central African Republic

A United Nations employee who was kidnapped in the capital of the Central African Republic has been released.

U.N. and C.A.R. officials say the woman was released Tuesday after being kidnapped earlier in the day by gunmen believed linked to the anti-Balaka Christian militia in Bangui. Officials say the woman works with the U.N. peacekeeping mission known as MINUSCA.

On Monday, a French woman and a local man, working for a Catholic medical organization, were kidnapped in the capital.

The abductions come days after U.N. peacekeepers arrested a senior anti-Balaka militia leader, known as General Andjilo, for crimes including murder, rebellion, rape and looting.

The Reuters news agency reports the rebels have demanded his release in exchange for the French hostage.

The Central African Republic has been rocked by violence since 2013 when the mostly Muslim Seleka rebel coalition ousted President François Bozizé's government, saying it had committed abuses against Muslims in the northeast.

Widespread human rights abuses committed by Seleka led to the formation of the anti-Balaka Christian militia, unleashing sectarian fighting that has forced hundreds of thousands of Muslim civilians to flee to neighboring countries.

France has deployed troops and an African peacekeeping force was beefed up and transformed into a United Nations mission to try to stem the violence.

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