UN forces retake strategic areas of C. African Republic city

"However credible sources have confirmed an undetermined number of civilian casualties", the statement said.

MINUSCA said the assailants were members of a wide coalition including the anti-Balaka group who "attacked civilian populations, targeting in particular Muslims", another sign of the violence between Muslims and Christians that has ravaged the country.

Early Saturday, another Moroccan soldier died in a similar attack on the base and a nearby Muslim-dominated area. It was unclear if they had begun to retreat.

Many residents say they are locked in their homes as the anti-Balaka forces control the city.

"The armed elements continue to systematically and deliberately attack the MINUSCA base with heavy weaponry to impede the peacekeepers from doing their extremely vital task of protecting the civilian population and to divert them from their primary vocation of saving lives", the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the country, known by the French acronym MINUSCA, said in a statement.

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"The President of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, condemns with no uncertain terms the despicable attacks by armed assailants on 8 and 13 May 2017 in Bangassou, in the south-east of auto, and in the vicinity of this town, targeting the MINUSCA and causing several deaths and injuries among the United Nations peacekeepers", the pan-African organization said in a statement posted Sunday on its electronic portal.

Touadera called on the leaders of the armed groups to "stop this blind and unjustified violence", warning that justice will be sought.

"These recent incidents amply demonstrate that the situation in the Central African Republic is still fragile hence the need for continued and sustained regional and worldwide support to overcome the challenges at hand", the Secretary-General's spokesperson said.

A United Nations peacekeeping soldier is seen in Central African Republic on April 27. Five U.N. peacekeepers were killed in May 8 attacks near Bangassou.

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