UN Secretary-General António Guterres has urged authorities in the Central African Republic (CAR) to spare no effort in investigating the “unacceptable attack” earlier this week by the presidential guard against a vehicle from the UN mission in the country, MINUSCA.
Ten unarmed Egyptian “blue helmets”, who were newly deployed to the mission, were injured in the incident, which occurred in the capital, Bangui, on Monday.
The peacekeepers had arrived at M’Poko International Airport as part of the periodic rotation and deployment of troops in the country. They were heading to their base when they came under heavy fire from the presidential guard, MINUSCA said in a statement that day.
While attempting to withdraw from the area, located some 120 metres from the presidential residence, their bus accidentally struck and killed a woman bystander.
The UN chief has strongly condemned the attack, his Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said in a statement issued on Thursday.
“The Secretary-General emphasizes that attacks against United Nations peacekeepers may constitute a war crime,” said Mr. Dujarric.
“He calls on the Central African authorities to spare no effort in investigating and promptly holding accountable the perpetrators of this unacceptable attack.”
The Secretary-General wished a speedy and full recovery to the wounded peacekeepers and also expressed his deepest condolences to the family of the civilian killed during the incident.
Mr. Guterres also underlined his gratitude to the people and Government of Egypt for their contribution to peace and stability in the CAR.
More than 14,000 uniformed personnel are serving at MINUSCA, which has been in the country since 2014, following deadly violence between mainly Christian and mainly Muslim militias.
The Secretary-General also reaffirmed the UN’s solidarity and continued support to the CAR.