Guterres says Central African Republic must ‘spare no effort’ to help bring killers of UN peacekeepers to justice
New York: The UN Secretary-General has expressed his deep sadness over the death of three peacekeepers from Bangladesh who were killed on Monday in the Central African Republic (CAR), following a roadside bomb explosion near the border with Cameroon. Others were injured, and one remains in a critical condition.
The ‘blue helmets’ from the UN Stabilization Mission in CAR, MINUSCA, were travelling on night patrol, near the village of Kaita, when their vehicle detonated an explosive device. The injured were evacuated to Bouar, where they are receiving treatment at a MINUSCA hospital, the mission said in a statement.
MINUSCA said it had launched an immediate investigation “in order to shed light on the facts and circumstances” of the attack.
In a statement released on Tuesday night in New York via his Spokesperson, the UN chief António Guterres, joined MINUSCA chief Valentine Rubwabiza, in offering his deepest condolences to the families of the fallen peacekeepers and the Government, and people, of Bangladesh.
Possible war crime
“The Secretary-General recalls that attacks targeting United Nations peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law. He calls on the Central African authorities to spare no effort in identifying the perpetrators of this attack, so that they can be brought to justice swiftly.”
The UN chief also called on authorities in CAR to life a restriction in place on night flights. The convoy attacked on Monday was travelling by road as part of its protection of civilians mandate.
Mr. Guterres noted that the night restriction on flights, “negatively impacts the safety and security of peacekeepers, who take considerable risks daily, to support national authorities.”
The Secretary-General also reaffirmed the solidarity of the United Nations with the people and Government of the Central African Republic.
Ms. Rugwabiza, who is also UN Special Representative in CAR, saluted the “commitment and determination of the peacekeepers deployed within MINUSCA.”
‘Attack on peace efforts’
Reiterating its determination to carry out its mandate to protect civilians, “MINUSCA continues to support the Central African authorities in the fight against the threats posed by the presence of explosive devices”, through demining and clearance efforts, she added.
Reacting to news of the attack on Twitter, UN peacekeeping chief, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, condemned the “cowardly attack”, adding that “every attack on peacekeepers is an attack on peace efforts, and against the communities who ear the brunt of conflict, and long for peace.”