Moroccan ‘blue helmet’ killed during armed attack in eastern CAR

Archive – United Nations Integrated Stabilization Mission in CAR (MINUSCA) troops in Bangu – MINUSCA

The United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) reported Friday the death of a Moroccan military member of its peacekeeping contingent during an attack by unidentified armed men in the southeast of the country.

«A ‘blue helmet’ of the Moroccan contingent died after an attack on Thursday morning at the Obo airfield while he was securing, with other elements of his contingent, the perimeter of an airfield for a landing,» MINUSCA explained in a statement.

The mission has «immediately opened an investigation into the exact circumstances of this attack,» according to the note, published on its website.

MINUSCA «condemns this attack on a peacekeeper and recalls that any attack on the life of a peacekeeper can be considered a war crime under international law and can be prosecuted by national or international justice».

The mission «calls on the Central African authorities to spare no effort to identify the perpetrators of this attack so that they are quickly brought to justice».

The presence of the UN mission has been a source of tension with the Central African government, whose president, Faustin-Archange Touadéra, has on several occasions defended the deployment of Russian forces in the country to support the army’s operations against the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC).

The UN Security Council approved in November the extension of MINUSCA’s mandate for one year, a resolution supported despite differences over the wording of the text.

The mission maintains the deployment of 14,400 military and 3,020 police, with little change to its core tasks, which include supporting the peace process and the peace agreement signed in February 2019.

The negotiations have been marked by tensions and differences of opinion among the member countries of the UN Security Council, which has been reflected in the document being approved with the abstention of Russia, China and Gabon.