“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.
“The 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.
Apart from the deceased, another Rwandan peacekeeper was slightly wounded during the attack.
The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres has also called for action to ensure accountability for the coordinated assaults near the capital, Bangui in the Central African Republic (CAR) that left a Rwandan peacekeeper dead and another wounded.
The UN mission in the country, MINUSCA, reported that some armed elements were killed, while others were arrested and weapons seized.
“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, MINUSCA spokesperson, said in a statement that the attack was repelled by the peacekeepers, together with the Central African armed forces.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
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.
Rwanda Defence Force is one of the largest troop contributors to MINUSCA since 2014.