CAR: Another Moroccan UN Peacekeeper Killed, Three Injured
One Moroccan UN soldier was killed and three others were injured in an attack launched Sunday by Christian armed militia in the Central African Republic targeting UN peacekeepers who were protecting a convoy of water trucks.
“The attack took place while the Moroccan peacekeepers were escorting water tankers to the river to help resupply the village,” the MINUSCA force said, condemning the assault and sending “condolences to the family, the people and the government of Morocco”.
The attack ambush occurred in the southern diamond-mining town of Bangassou. Christian militia have been attempting to seize a cathedral housing hundreds of displaced Muslims, who have been sheltering in the compound since a wave of ethnic killings in May.
In January 2017, two Moroccan soldiers of the MINUSCA were killed in an armed attack near the town of Bria, to the northeast of the capital Bangui.
MINUSCA has currently more than 12,000 troops deployed to protect civilians from the repercussion of violence between Christian and Muslim sects.
Central African Republic is struggling to emerge from a civil war that erupted in 2013 following the overthrow of former President Francois Bozize, a Christian, by Muslim rebels from the Seleka coalition.
The coup led to the formation of “Anti-balaka” vigilant units, drawn from the Christian majority, which began to target Muslims.
Last Friday, a patrol of peacekeepers was shot and one of the attackers killed, said the spokesman for MINUSCA, blaming pro-Christian armed groups once again.
On the same day, a Muslim woman was kidnapped by what is believed to be an Anti-balaka unit and six Christians were held by Muslims. All were released on Saturday following negotiations.
Six peacekeepers were killed in May in the city and surrounding region, which lies around 470km from Bangui on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.
French military forces intervened in 2013 to stop violent Christian-Muslim clashes and formally ended its peacekeeping mission only last month, describing it a success despite fresh outbreaks of violence.
The Security Council has expressed lately concern at the ongoing clashes between armed groups in the CAR and the targeting of civilians from specific communities, UN Peacekeepers and humanitarian workers. The clashes continue to destabilize the country and cause heavy civilian losses and significant population displacements despite agreement by parties to the conflict to an immediate cessation of hostilities.
Some of the acts committed in CAR may amount to war crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Security Council noted, recalling that the Prosecutor of the ICC opened in 2014 an investigation into alleged crimes committed since 2012.