It is reported that the fighting began early Wednesday at the entrance to Bangui, near its PK11 and PK12 areas and in the Bimbo neighborhood.
IGIHE has learnt that rebel groups supported by François Bozizé tried to cross the bridge connecting Bimbo area and Bangui but were repelled back by Rwandan peacekeepers deployed to safeguard the city in collaboration with other security forces.
A Rwandan peacekeeper died while another one was wounded during the intense fighting reported around 10am on the outskirts of Bangui.
As rebels were chased out, armed forces including Rwandan troops killed 37, arrested five and seized several weapons.
The spokesperson of Rwanda Defence Force (RDF), Lt Col Ronald Rwivanga has told IGIHE that rebels were repelled back by troops serving under the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) in collaboration with CAR armed forces.
“Five were apprehended, 37 were killed while several arms were seized,” he said.
Following the attack, RDF has mourned its fallen peacekeeper serving under MINUSCA and expressed condolences to friends and family.
“The Rwanda Defence Force is deeply saddened by the death of a Rwandan peacekeeper serving under the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA, following an attack on 13 Jan 2021 by elements of an armed group opposed to the peace process,” reads in part RDF statement.
“RDF expresses its heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the fallen peacekeeper. RDF peacekeepers remain committed to the protection of civilians within the mandate of MINUSCA, and the other peacekeeping missions under which our troops serve,” adds the statement.
The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres has called for action to ensure accountability for “heinous attacks” in the Central African Republic (CAR) on Wednesday that left a Rwandan peacekeeper dead and another wounded.
“The Secretary-General recalls that attacks against United Nations peacekeepers may constitute a war crime,” his spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric, said in a statement.
Vladimir Monteiro, the MINUSCA spokesperson, said in a statement that ‘MINUSCA strongly condemns the attacks by the anti-Balaka, UPC, 3R and MPC coalition armed groups and their political allies, including former President François Bozizé.’
“The Mission holds them responsible for the consequences of this violence on the civilian population and stresses that attacks against peacekeepers can be considered as war crimes and prosecuted,” he said.
The Secretary-General also expressed concern over continued destabilization efforts by armed groups in the CAR.
He called on all parties to stop violence and engage in meaningful dialogue, and underlined the UN’s commitment to ongoing peace efforts.
Towards the end of last month, three Burundian peacekeepers serving under MINUSCA were also killed by armed groups during fighting that took place in Dékoa of Kémo Province.
On 2nd January 2021, Rwanda’s Special Forces in CAR peacekeeping mission killed several rebels intending to destabilize security in Damara County, 76 km away from Bangui. It was reported that rebels attacked Damara town in the wee hours, confronted CAR forces which failed to repel them back until nearby RDF soldiers intervened and killed over 30 rebels on ground while 2 of CAR soldiers died during the attack.