A UN Peacekeeper from Rwanda was killed in the Central African Republic on Monday by a thus far unknown group of attackers. The attack on the UN forces of MINUSCA (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic) took place 3km from Sam-Ouandja, where UN forces had recently on July 5th bolstered their presence due to a recent uptick in attacks, particularly one on July 4th which was repelled by MINUSCA peacekeepers. During Monday’s attack, responding UN forces were able to kill three of their attackers, and capture one more.
The Rwandan Defence Force released a statement on the death of the peacekeeper.
— Rwanda Defence Force (@RwandaMoD) July 11, 2023
MINUSCA also released a statement on the peacekeepers killing, in which they asked that the “Central African authorities to spare no effort to identify those responsible for the attack on peacekeepers and bring them to justice”.
Notably, they also stated that attacks on a “blue helmet” (meaning a UN peacekeeper) can be considered a war crime and liable to both national and international prosecution.
The full MINUSCA statement may be read below:
A Rwandan peacekeeper from the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) was killed in an attack launched by armed elements on Monday, during a Force patrol 3 km from Sam -Ouandja, in the prefecture of Haute-Kotto (north-east of the Central African Republic). During this attack, three armed elements were killed and one captured.
MINUSCA continues to secure Sam-Ouandja, with the arrival of additional blue helmets on July 5, and Force and Police patrols in the town and its surroundings. On July 4, the city had been the target of a deadly attack by armed elements, who had been forced to flee after the intervention of the Force deployed in the city.
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in CAR and Head of MINUSCA, Valentine Rugwabiza “strongly condemns this outrageous attack against blue helmets and reaffirms MINUSCA’s commitment to maintain its robust posture in the execution of its mandate of protection of civilian populations, in support of the Central African authorities”.
The Special Representative welcomes “the firm and immediate response of the Rwandan contingent patrol to this attack, which made it possible to repel the armed elements and protect the population of Sam-Ouandja”.
MINUSCA calls on the Central African authorities to spare no effort to identify those responsible for this attack on peacekeepers and bring them to justice.
MINUSCA recalls that any attack on the life of a blue helmet can be considered a war crime and liable to prosecution by national and international justice.
Rwanda is MINUSCA’s top peacekeeper contributor. Last year in 2022 32 UN troops and police officers were killed in the UN’s worldwide missions, 4 of those killed were in the CAR.