İrem UZUN -TDO- Three UN peacekeepers have been killed in the Central African Republic (CAR) as tensions flare between government and rebel forces. The UN said unidentified combatants carried out two attacks, leaving two other peacekeepers injured. The group were stationed in CAR to quell violence ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections on Sunday.
The attacks on UN peacekeepers and CAR troops took place in Dekoa, central Kemo prefecture, and in Bakouma, southern Mbomou prefecture, the UN said in a brief statement. “Three peacekeepers from Burundi were killed and two others were wounded,” the statement said, without providing further details. The attacks came as voters in CAR geared up for presidential and legislative elections, deemed a key test for the country’s ability to recover stability after decades of political turmoil and armed conflict. Several opposition groups as well as a recently formed coalition of armed groups – the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), called for a vote delay. On Saturday, the constitutional court dismissed an application and said the presidential elections will proceed as planned.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said attacks against UN peacekeepers may constitute a war crime. Guterres, according to the statement, called on Central African authorities to investigate the heinous assaults and “swiftly bring perpetrators to justice.”