One Rwandan peacekeeper was killed and eight others wounded in Bangui, Central African Republic (CAR) during an exchange of fire with armed elements on Tuesday, April 10.
One of the injured members of RDF remains in critical condition, according to the reports from Bangui.
The incident followed a joint operation launched on Sunday, April 8, by the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and the Central African forces and police.
The offensive is aimed at disarming and arresting heavily armed criminal groups which had sealed off some part of the capital Bangui, according to a statement from Stéphane Dujarric, the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General of United Nations,
Lt Col. Innocent Munyengango, the Military and Defence Spokesperson, told The New Times that the deceased member of Rwanda’s contingent in the MINUSCA was at the rank of Sergeant.
“They (Rwandan peacekeepers) had been deployed to rescue civilians who had been attacked by armed elements in a place called PK5 – a city suburb in Bangui. Our forces managed to stop the fight and rescued civilians but unfortunately one of our soldiers lost his life and 8 were injured,”
Munyengango also added that the wounded soldiers are “recovering well.”
“Preparations are underway to repatriate the body of the fallen peacekeeper to Rwanda for burial,” Menyengango said, adding that they are waiting for the UN to finish with procedural handover of the body to the Rwandan contingent, saying that “it should be as soon as possible.”
“The UN Secretary-General offers his deepest condolences to the family of the bereaved, as well as to the Government of Rwanda, and wishes a swift recovery to the injured,” the statement from Dujarric reads in part.
According to Dujarric, the Secretary-General also recalls that attacks against United Nations peacekeepers may constitute a war crime and calls on the Central African Republic authorities to investigate them and swiftly bring those responsible to justice.
The UN reiterated the determination of the stabilisation mission to protect civilians from such elements and contribute to the stabilisation of the Central African Republic.
These elements are responsible for extensive abuses against the local population, including attacking civilians, while blocking the return of state order, according to MINUSCA.
Rwanda maintains 986 peacekeepers in Central African Republic and these include an infantry battalion, a mechanised company and a Level 2 Military Hospital.