Reuters International

A sign is pictured over a black sheet outside the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland October 7, 2015. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

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DAKAR (Reuters) - Medical relief charity Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) has halted operations in part of west Central African Republic after a staff member was shot dead during an ambush on one of its convoys, it said on Thursday.

The convoy carrying patients and doctors was stopped by unidentified armed men on Wednesday about 80 kilometres north of Bossangoa, said a statement by the charity, known in English as Doctors Without Borders

Personal belongings and medicine were taken and one of the MSF drivers, a Central African Republic national, was killed.

"MSF has been forced to suspend activities in the area until such time as it receives adequate guarantees for the safety for its staff and the acceptance of its medical and humanitarian activities," the statement said.

It has called for a full investigation by local police.

Central African Republic, a former French colony, spiralled into deep crisis in early 2013 when mainly Muslim Seleka fighters toppled former president Francois Bozize. Christian militias responded to Seleka abuses by attacking the Muslim minority.

A fifth of the population fled their homes to escape the violence and the country remains largely divided along religious lines and controlled by warlords.

According to MSF, over 70 percent of the country's health facilities have been damaged or destroyed by the violence since 2013.

(Reporting by Edward McAllister; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

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