United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has strongly condemned an attack against a convoy of the UN peacekeepers in the Central African Republic (CAR) that left four dead, one missing and 10 others evacuated.
“Attacks against United Nations peacekeepers may constitute a war crime,” Mr. Guterres said through his spokesperson yesterday on the attack perpetrated by suspected anti-Balaka elements against a convoy of the UN Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSCA) on 8 May.
He called on the CAR authorities to investigate the attack – executed on the Rafai-Bangassou axis, in the country’s south east – in order to swiftly bring those responsible to justice.
Mr. Guterres offered his deepest condolences to the bereaved families and the Governments of the concerned troop contributing countries, and wished a swift recovery to the wounded.
The Secretary-General also reiterated his support to the actions of MINUSCA to protect civilians and stabilise the Central African Republic, and called “on all parties to heed President Faustin Archange Touadéra’s call to cease violence and work together towards the stability of the country.”
Later in the day, the members of the UN Security Council also condemned the attack and also expressed their deepest condolences and sympathy to the families of the victims, and their deepest sympathy to the families of the peacekeepers injured and the peacekeeper missing, as well as to Cambodia, Morocco, and to MINUSCA. They wished the injured a speedy recovery.
In a press statement, the Council urged the Central African Republic authorities to continue the search for the missing peacekeeper from MINUSCA. Strongly condemning all attacks and provocations against MINUSCA by armed groups, the Council also reiterated that such attacks may constitute war crimes.
Clashes between the mainly Muslim Séléka rebel coalition and anti-Balaka militia, which are mostly Christian, plunged the country of 4.5 million people into civil conflict in 2013.
Also today, President of the UN General Assembly Peter Thomson arrived in CAR “to show solidarity with our United Nations people on the ground, particularly our peacekeepers.”
Accompanied by the President of the National Assembly, Karim Meckassoua, the Prime Minister, Simplice Sarandji and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of MINUSCA, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, Mr. Thomson went to MINUSCA’s military hospital to visit the bedside of the UN peacekeepers that were wounded during the attack on their convoy.
According to the Mission, Mr. Thomson, on behalf of the Organization, took the opportunity to salute the dedication of peacekeepers engaged in all theatres of operation in the name of peace.
He went on to not that he is in CAR to spread the word on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), “but I’m also here I think you will hear from me those strong messages on sustainable development and on the solidarity that we have with what the UN mission is here.”
“The United Nations is here to help with the recovery of Central Africa, and I’m here to underline that role that the United Nations has here,” he added.