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Attacks against aid workers in CAR at record high: UN

By AFP

Bangui (Central African Republic) (AFP) - Crimes against aid workers have reached a record high in the Central African Republic over the past year, a UN official said Thursday after a Red Cross volunteer was killed.

Claire Bourgeois, the UN's humanitarian coordinator in the strife-torn country, said there had been around 50 attacks on aid workers in the last 12 months as she condemned the killing of a volunteer shot Wednesday in Bangui "while he evacuated the injured."

"The number of humanitarian workers who have been killed, kidnapped, and seriously injured in the Central African Republic has reached a level never seen in the country before," she said in a statement.

According to the UN, there are currently more than 2,000 aid workers in the country, many of them trying to deal with whole communities that have been forced from their homes.

A flare up of violence in Bangui this week has seen at least five people -- including the Red Cross worker -- killed.

The clashes between armed militants and French peacekeepers in the capital also left almost 40 people wounded, according to one hospital source.

The country has been in crisis since March 2013 when the mainly Muslim rebel Seleka alliance ousted the president and placed one of their leaders, Michel Djotodia, in power.

Djotodia stepped down in January, but fighting between rogue rebels and mainly-Christian vigilante groups has continued.

The conflict has left thousands dead and forced around a million people from their homes.

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