The Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) has issued a statement mourning the death of Rwandan peacekeeper who was killed in an ambush in Central African Republic (CAR) on Monday.
“Rwanda Defence Force is deeply saddened by the death of a Rwandan peacekeeper serving under the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), following an attack on 13 July 2020 by elements of an armed group,”
“The RDF expresses its heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the fallen peacekeeper,” RDF said in a brief statement, adding that RDF peacekeepers remain committed to the protection of civilians within the mandate of MINUSCA, and the other peacekeeping missions under which Rwandan troops serve.
The killing of the Rwandan blue helmet was condemned by the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres on Tuesday. Both the UN and RDF have not revealed the name or rank of the slain peacekeeper.
Guterres, through his Spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric, said he strongly condemns the attack allegedly carried out by the Return, Reclamation and Rehabilitation (3R) armed elements who targeted a MINUSCA convoy in Gedze, Nana-Mambere prefecture in the northwest of the country. The attack saw two of the deceased’s colleagues wounded.
“The Secretary-General expresses his deepest condolences to the family of the victim as well as to the people and Government of Rwanda. He wishes a speedy recovery to the injured,” a statement from Guterres’ office said.
“The Secretary-General recalls that attacks against United Nations peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law. He calls on the Central African Republic authorities to spare no effort in identifying the perpetrators of this attack so that they can be brought to justice swiftly,” it added.
The Secretary-General reaffirmed that the United Nations will continue to support national efforts to advance peace and stability in the Central African Republic, working closely with the country’s international partners.
MINUSCA, the UN peacekeeping operation in the Central African Republic, works to protect civilians and support transition processes.
The authorities and 14 armed groups, which included 3R, signed a Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in February 2019.
“This criminal attack constitutes a new violation of the peace agreement by the 3R & its leader Abass Sidiki”, the UN mission said on Twitter.
The head of UN Peacekeeping also condemned the attack, calling it a cowardly attack.
“This cowardly attack”, adding that “this crime must not go unpunished, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the head of MINUSCA said on Twitter, strongly condemning the attack.
Rwanda is the leading contributor of peacekeepers to MINUSCA, with about 1,357 troops and 420 officers.