The Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) has spoken out on a Rwandan peacekeeper who was killed on duty in the Central African Republic (CAR) on Wednesday, January 13, affirming its commitment to support efforts to pacify the troubled African country.
“The 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 Jan 2021 by elements of an armed group opposed to the peace process,”
“The RDF expresses its heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the fallen peacekeeper,” a short statement from RDF reads.
The United Nations Secretary General’s Representative in CAR and head of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), Mankeur Ndiaye condiment the attack which claimed one blue helmet and injured another.
RDF, which recently deployed a protection force to provide security to in the country, under a bilateral arrangement, said it remains committed to the task.
“RDF peacekeepers remain committed to the protection of civilians within the mandate of MINUSCA, and the other peacekeeping missions under which our troops serve,” RDF said.
The Spokesperson of the United Nations Secretary General Representative in CAR, Vladimir Monteiro, condemned the attacks which were perpetrated by anti-Balaka, UPC, 3R and MPC coalition armed groups and their political allies, in particular former President François Bozizé.
“MINUSCA condemns in the strongest terms the attack launched Wednesday morning by the armed elements in the outskirts of the city of Bangui. The attack was repelled by the peacekeepers, together with the Central African armed forces,” a Statement from the UNSG Representative in CAR reads.
The UN said elements of the armed groups suffered loss of life, some were arrested and weapons seized. MINUSCA said it holds the rebels responsible for the consequences of this violence on the civilian population and stressed that attacks against peacekeepers can be considered as serious war crimes and prosecuted.
UN Secretary General Condemns Violence
Meanwhile, the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, through his Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric, has also condemned the violent attacks in which the peacekeeper was killed and another injured. Below is the statement;
The Secretary-General strongly condemns today’s attacks by unidentified armed combatants on Central African national defense and security forces, and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) near Bangui. A peacekeeper from Rwanda was killed and another injured,”
The Secretary-General expresses his deepest condolences to the families of the deceased peacekeeper, as well as to the people and Government of Rwanda. He wishes a speedy recovery to the injured.
The Secretary-General recalls that attacks against United Nations peacekeepers may constitute a war crime. He calls on the Central African Republic authorities to take all the necessary measures to ensure accountability for these heinous attacks.
The Secretary-General remains very concerned over continued destabilization efforts by armed groups in the Central African Republic, and calls on all parties to stop violence and engage in meaningful dialogue. He commends the continued engagement of the United Nations peacekeepers in their efforts to protect civilians and preserve national stability.
The Secretary-General reiterates the commitment of the United Nations, working closely with national, regional and international partners, to support the cause of peace in the Central African Republic.
New York, 13 January 2021