Home » UN Peacekeeper Dies in CAR Landmine Explosion, Five Others Injured

UN Peacekeeper Dies in CAR Landmine Explosion, Five Others Injured

The incident occurred near the site of a December massacre of 23 civilians by the 3R rebel group, one of the most powerful armed groups in the region

by Motoni Olodun

A landmine blast in the northwestern region of the Central African Republic (CAR) has killed a Cameroonian member of the UN peacekeeping force and wounded five others, the United Nations said on Wednesday.

The incident occurred on Monday when soldiers from Cameroon’s contingent of the UN peacekeeping mission (MINUSCA) were escorting a team from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in the village of Mbindale, 450 kilometers (280 miles) north of the capital Bangui, according to a statement from MINUSCA1.

The explosion happened 20 km from the site of a December 21 massacre of 23 civilians by armed elements of the 3R rebel group, one of the most powerful of the armed groups and criminal gangs that operate in the region.

MINUSCA said two of the wounded peacekeepers were “seriously” hurt and all were taken to hospital. It condemned the attack as a “cowardly act” and vowed to continue its work to protect civilians and support the peace process in CAR.

The landmine blast is the latest in a series of attacks on UN peacekeepers in the country, where civil war has plagued the nation since 2013.

In July, a Rwandan member of the UN force was killed by an unidentified armed group in an attack on a UN patrol in eastern CAR.

Since 2022, five MINUSCA soldiers have been killed in the country, according to figures from the organization.

The CAR is one of the world’s poorest and most unstable countries, despite its rich natural resources, such as gold and diamonds.

The conflict began when a Muslim-dominated armed coalition called the Seleka ousted former president Francois Bozize in 2013.

He raised his own predominantly Christian and animist militias, known as the anti-Balaka, to try to regain power.

The violence subsided in 2018 but the country still suffers bouts of violence by rebel groups or over its resources.

In 2020, CAR brought in more Russian operatives as rebel groups advanced on the capital and repelled a siege of Bangui.

However, some areas of the country remain outside government control.

The UN has about 12,000 peacekeepers in CAR, deployed since 2014 to help restore stability and support the implementation of a peace agreement signed in 2019 between the government and 14 armed groups.

The agreement has been repeatedly violated by the parties, and the UN has accused all sides of perpetrating war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The UN Security Council recently extended the mandate of MINUSCA until November 2024 and authorized an increase of 2,750 military personnel and 940 police officers to reinforce the mission.

The UN also called for more international support to address the humanitarian crisis in CAR, where more than half of the population of 4.9 million people need assistance, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Despite the challenges, the UN said it remains committed to helping the people of CAR achieve lasting peace and development.

Source: AFP


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