Two other Moroccan peacekeepers operating under MINUSCA, the UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic (CAR) were killed on Tuesday and another was injured in an ambush by Anti-Balaka rebels in the second deadly attack, just two days after the death of a Moroccan soldier from the same contingent.
“The MINUSCA regrets to announce the deaths of two more blue helmets on Tuesday afternoon in Bangassou,” a town 700 kilometres (430 miles) east of the capital Bangui, the peacekeeping force said in a statement.
The UN peacekeepers were attacked as they were stocking up with water “for the humanitarian needs of the town,” the statement added.
On the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bangassou has in recent weeks become the epicenter of the unrest in the Central African Republic.
Despite the warnings by the international community that attacks on peacekeepers amount to war crimes, the Christian Anti-Balaka rebels continue to target humanitarian convoys of the UN in the country, particularly in the area of Bangassou.
Last May, a Moroccan peacekeeper was killed in a fire exchange after an attack by the Anti-Balaka group on a Moroccan checkpoint in downtown Bangassou. The attack also claimed the lives of several civilians.
The May attack came just hours after the UN held a memorial ceremony to honor five peacekeepers, four Cambodians and one Moroccan, killed on May 8 in a nearby village of Yogofongo, in a deadly attack perpetrated by suspected Anti-Balaka elements.
Ten peacekeepers, 9 Moroccan and a Cambodian, were injured in this attack.
Morocco sent 1470 peacekeepers to the MINUSCA, which has a total of 12,870 uniformed personnel including 10,750 military personnel and 2,080 police personnel.
Since 2013, the Central African Republic has been mired in a civil conflict after clashes surged between the mainly Muslim Séléka rebel coalition and Anti-Balaka militias.