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CAR civil war violence kills UN peacekeepers

January 6, 2017

At least three Blue Helmets have been killed in separate incidents in the Central African Republic this week. The country continues to be beset by violence following the outbreak of a civil war.

Zentralafrikanische Republik - Blauhelmsoldat in Bangui
Image: Getty Images/AFP/G. Guercia

The UN said on Thursday that one of its peacekeepers, or Blue Helmets, was killed during an ambush in the northwestern part of the country, just a day after two other peacekeepers were reported killed in the southeast.

The soldier, who was from Bangladesh, was on patrol about 25 kilometers southwest of the city of Bocaranga when he was killed by an unknown attacker or attackers.

Only a day earlier, the UN had reported that at least two other peacekeepers had been killed in the remote southeastern part of the country. The Moroccan soldiers were accompanying a convoy of fuel trucks from Zemio when gunmen opened fire. Two other soldiers were wounded in the assault.

Possible war crime

"Attacks targeting peacekeepers may constitute a war crime and reminded all parties of their obligations under international humanitarian law," a statement from the UN Security Council read following the incident.

The Central African Republic has been undergoing heavy bouts of violence since civil conflict broke out in 2013 between Muslim rebels and members of the Christian majority. In addition to various warring militias, the notorious Ugandan group Lord's Resistance Army has also been operating in parts of the country.

In December of that year, 12,500 peacekeepers were deployed as part of a MINUSCA mission overseen by the African Union and France, the country's former colonial power.

blc/kl (AFP, dpa)

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