C. African Republic attack kills 8, wounds UN peacekeeper

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — An attack in Central African Republic by Muslim combatants led to the killing of eight civilians in a camp for the displaced along with five fighters, the United Nations said Friday.

U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said U.N. peacekeepers intervened in Thursday night’s attack which also injured several displaced people and two ex-Seleka Muslim combatants, and slightly injured a peacekeeper.

Central African Republic descended into conflict in 2013 when Muslim rebels overthrew the Christian president. That ushered in a brutal reign. When the rebel leader left power the following year, a swift and horrific backlash against Muslim civilians ensued, and violence has continued.

The attack comes days after Pope Francis wrapped up his three-nation Africa tour in Central African Republic, calling for peace and Muslim-Christian reconciliation.

It took place in Ngakobo, about 60 kilometers (37 miles) south of the central town of Bambari.

The U.N.’s humanitarian coordinator in Central African Republic, Aurelien A. Agbenonci, condemned the attack in a statement and called on feuding parties to preserve the security of safe havens.

Haq told reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York that the U.N. mission in Central African Republic also reported several incidents involving the ex-Seleka rebels and the anti-Balaka Christian militia that have raised tensions in Bambari.

He said anti-Balaka members looted and damaged a truck heading from Bambari to the capital Bangui on Thursday, but U.N. peacekeepers intervened forcing the attackers to withdraw and apprehending the alleged leader.

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Associated Press writer Edith M. Lederer contributed to this report from the United Nations.

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