A French aid worker has been shot and killed in the central African nation of Chad.

The aid group Save the Children UK identifies the slain worker as 49-year-old Pascal Marlinge.

The group says Marlinge was traveling in a three-car convoy of relief agencies near the Sudanese border Thursday when the convoy was stopped by a group of armed men who opened fire.

Save the Children UK says it is suspending its relief work in Chad until further notice.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner denounced the killing as barbaric. He asked Chadian authorities to shed light on the circumstances.

In New York, U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes called the killing an inexcusable crime and said it would likely worsen the already difficult conditions for humanitarian workers in Chad.

Aid agencies in eastern Chad are caring for some 150,000 internally displaced and about 250,000 refugees, mostly from the Darfur conflict in neighboring Sudan.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.