CAR violence
French soldiers stand in front of protesters demonstrating against French troops in Bambari. Reuters

Armed men from a Christian militia have kidnapped a UN staff member in the capital of Central African Republic, a spokesman for the Minusca mission has revealed.

A French charity worker and a churchman were taken in the city of Bangui in an area held by an anti-Balaka (anti-sword) militia.

"Unidentified armed men kidnapped on Tuesday a woman who works for Minusca after having stopped the vehicle in which she was traveling. A similar kidnap attempt failed just a bit earlier," said Minusca in a statement.

The French foreign ministry confirmed the kidnap and said that the unnamed woman, 67, was providing health and education support to a number of the country's villages.

The militiamen are demanding the release of one of their leaders who was arrested for murder.

The militias formed after Michel Djotodia, the first Muslim president of the country, rose to power after Francois Bozize - a Christian - was ousted by the Muslim Seleka rebels in March 2013.

Djotodia resigned in January last year after diplomatic pressure but the unrest has continued unabated.

Catherine Samba-Panza, a non-partisan with no links to the Seleka or anti-Balaka, is now the interim president of the country and first women to ever hold the post. She has requested talks between both sides and will lead the country until the parliamentary election next month.

The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic (Minusca) is the UN's peacekeeping operation in the country which has been beset by unrest and saw over 5,000 killed in 2014.