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UN Worker Kidnapped in Central African Republic

Soldiers of the European Union Force RCA (EUFOR RCA) patrol in Bangui, CAR, January 19, 2015, after two aid workers, including a 67-year-old French woman, were kidnapped in the capital the French government said.

A female United Nations employee has been kidnapped in the capital of the Central African Republic, a day after two other aid workers were seized.

A U.N. official says the gunmen, believed linked to anti-Balaka Christian militia, abducted the Kurdish staffer Tuesday morning in Bangui.

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

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

Reuters news reports that 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 the government of President François Bozizé, which it said 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 sectarian violence.