“This incident brings to nine the number of peacekeepers killed in service in Bangassou since the beginning of the year,” said a statement issued this morning by Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General.
According to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), two of its Moroccan peacekeepers were killed in an ambush in Bangassou by suspected anti-Balaka fighters, while another peacekeeper was slightly injured. The incident followed the killing of a Moroccan peacekeeper on Sunday.
In the statement, the Secretary-General offered his condolences and sympathy to the bereaved families and to the Government of Morocco, and urged the Central African authorities to swiftly investigate this incident and all previous killings without delay and bring the perpetrators to justice.
The Secretary-General “is deeply concerned” at the fighting in the country's southeast, heightened inter-ethnic tensions and efforts by spoilers to derail the stabilization process.
“If allowed to continue, the prevailing situation risks undermining the hard-won gains achieved towards lasting peace. The Secretary-General calls on all parties to cease violence and to take action to avoid a further deterioration of the fragile security situation in the country,” the statement added.
The UN Security Council also joined in the condemnation of the attack. In a press statement, the Council expressed its readiness to apply sanctions against individuals and groups responsible for acts of undermining peace, stability or security in the country, including attacks against MINUSCA peacekeepers.
The 15-member body also called on all parties to cease violence immediately, and underlined the need for the Central African authorities, the sub-region and the international community to work in a concerted manner to avoid a further deterioration of the situation.