Moroccan Peacekeepers Repel Attack by Rebels in CAR
Members of the Moroccan contingent taking part in the UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic, MINUSCA, have thwarted a violent attack by the Christian militias, known as the Anti-Balaka rebels, on Muslim civilians in the area of Bangasso.
In a joint press briefing with the spokesperson for the MINUSCA, a Moroccan MINUSCA official said that the attack took place on June 21 when a group of armed Anti-balaka rebels opened fire on the Moroccan peacekeepers guarding the site where 200 Muslims including women and children sought refuge. He added that the Moroccan contingent successfully repelled the attack and averted casualties among MINUSCA peacekeepers and civilians.
Violence have flared in the area of Bangasso, about 700km away from the capital Bangi, after the Anti-Balaka rebels perpetrated deadly attacks on Muslim civilians and UN peacekeepers alike.
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 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 12,080 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.