UN Secretary-General António Guterres has urged authorities in the Central African Republic (CAR) to spare no effort in investigating the “unacceptable attack” earlier this week by the presidential guard against a vehicle from the UN mission in the country, MINUSCA.
According to MINUSCA, the blue helmets were part of the Egyptian Constituent Police Unit and were shot by elements of the presidential guard. Two were seriously injured.
The peacekeepers arrived on November 1 at M’Poko International Airport, as part of the periodic rotation and deployment of troops in the country and were heading to their base, when they came under heavy fire from the presidential guard, said a statement released by the mission.
According to MINUSCA, it happened “without any prior warning or response, even though they were unarmed.”
The mission added that it “strongly condemns what appears to be a deliberate and unjustifiable attack.”
Mankeur Ndiaye, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UN peacekeeping operation, MINUSCA, underlined the need to maintain “positive momentum” as the authorities strive to achieve democracy and stability in the wake of presidential and parliamentary elections.
Central African Republic President Faustin-Archange Touadera has declared a unilateral cessation of fighting against armed groups, saying he hoped it would lead to peaceful dialogue.
The country has seen recurrent rounds of rebel violence since former President Francois Bozize was deposed in 2013. Armed groups control large swaths of territory, and about one-quarter of the nearly 5 million population has been displaced.