Monday, May 15, 2017 1:12 am
UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, has condemned the latest attacks against civilians and the UN in Central African Republic (CAR), urging authorities to investigate and bring those responsible to justice.
Guterres, in a statement issued by Stéphane Dujarric, his Spokesman, warned that the attacks could constitute war crimes.
The attacks were believed to have been carried out by suspected anti-Balaka against civilians and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).
The assailants attacked civilian populations overnight on Friday and Saturday in the Tokoyo neighbourhood of Bangassou, in south-eastern CAR, according to MINUSCA.
Preliminary information reported that displaced civilians sought refuge at a mosque, a Catholic church and a hospital.
“These attacks led to significant population displacement, an undetermined number of civilian casualties and the death of one Moroccan peacekeeper, bringing to six the number of peacekeepers killed in the Central African Republic this week,” he said.
Guterres offered his condolences to the family of the deceased peacekeeper and the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco.
He reaffirmed the UN’s support for MINUSCA, which is in CAR to protect civilians and stabilize the country.
He also extended his appreciation to the Governments whose troops and police contributed to MINUSCA peacekeeping.
CAR is emerging from civil conflict which began in 2013, with clashes between the mainly Muslim Séléka rebel coalition and anti-Balaka militia, which are mostly Christians.
“These recent incidents amply demonstrate that the situation in the Central African Republic is still fragile hence the need for continued and sustained regional and international support to overcome the challenges at hand,” Guterres said.
The latest attack came just hours after the UN held a memorial ceremony to honour five peacekeepers killed on May 8 in a nearby village of Yogofongo by suspected militants connected with the anti-Balaka group.
UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, and other senior UN officials, took part in the ceremony.