Tuesday, January 31, 2023

UN peacekeeper killed, two injured in CAR ambush | Conflict News

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A peacekeeper has been ambushed by rebels near the Central African Republic (CAR) town of Grimari as deadly violence continues after a contested election last month.

Two other soldiers were injured when fighters from a coalition of rebel groups ambushed peacekeepers from Burundi and Bangladesh, the United Nations Mission in the country, MINUSCA, said in a statement.

The peacekeepers were conducting a security operation around Grimari, 200 km northeast of the capital Bangui, he added.

The Burundian peacekeeper was killed in the second ambush and two Bangladeshi peacekeepers were injured in the attacks and were treated.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned that the attacks “could constitute a war crime” and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice, UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said .

The UN chief also reiterated “his deep concern at the continued destabilization efforts of armed groups across the country,” and called on all parties “to immediately end the violence and resolve their differences by means peaceful ”.

‘Traumatized’

A sharp increase in violence in recent weeks has forced more than 60,000 people to flee the country, seeking refuge in Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other neighboring countries, the United Nations agency said. refugees (UNHCR).

The Democratic Republic of Congo has received the largest number of refugees – around 50,000 since December, including 10,000 who arrived on Wednesday when the rebel coalition staged attacks on the outskirts of the capital, according to UNHCR.

However, Cameroon has also seen an increase in the number of families, especially women and children, from the Central African Republic, he added.

“At first when they arrived they said it was a preventive movement, they were afraid because they remembered the violence they suffered in 2013,” said Helen Ngoh Ada, spokesperson for the United Nations refugee agency in Cameroon.

“Lately, those who came said that they had come deeply traumatized, and that they had suffered some form of abuse, of human rights violations, and that is why they fled,” he said. she said in an interview with The Associated Press.

People are allowed to cross from CAR into Cameroon, but borders are closed to traders and trucks and supplies have not entered the Central African Republic for several days, Ngoh Ada said.

“This means that the livelihoods of the people of the Central African Republic are threatened, and that will be one of the reasons people move to Cameroon,” she added.

Major escalation

Security forces repelled attacks by rebels trying to capture Bangui on Wednesday after heavy fighting on the outskirts of the city in a severe escalation of violence that has rocked the country for the past month.

At least one Rwandan peacekeeper has been killed and one injured, the UN said. Central African Republic Prime Minister Firmin Ngrebada said at least 30 rebels were also dead.

The rebels protest against the re-election on December 27 of President Faustin-Archange Touadera. Following the January 4 announcement of Touadera’s victory, the rebel coalition threatened to seize the capital. They also seized towns in other parts of the country ahead of the vote.

The army is supported in its battle against the rebels by forces from Rwanda, Russia, France and the United Nations.

The mineral-rich Central African Republic has faced deadly interfaith and inter-community fighting since 2013, when predominantly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power from former President François Bozize after long claiming marginalization.

Resistance to the Seleka regime ultimately resulted in Muslims being targeted en masse, with some beaten to death, mosques destroyed and tens of thousands expelled from the capital in 2014.

Bozize has been accused of inflaming violence in recent weeks, which erupted after the Constitutional Court rejected his candidacy in December.



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