Rebels kill 1 UN peacekeeper in Central African Republic

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BANGUI, Central African Republic (PA) – At least one peacekeeper was killed and two others wounded on Friday in two successive attacks by armed rebels near the town of Grimari in the Central African Republic, the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic said. country.

Members of a coalition of armed rebels staged the attacks while peacekeepers from Burundi and Bangladesh conducted a security operation around Grimari, more than 200 kilometers northeast of the capital, Bangui. The Burundian peacekeeper was killed in the second ambush, and two Bangladeshi peacekeepers were during the attacks and receiving treatment, the UN mission in the Central African Republic, known as MINUSCA, said in a report. communicated.

A sharp increase in violence in recent weeks has forced more than 60,000 people to flee the country, seeking refuge in Cameroon, Congo and other neighboring countries, the United Nations Refugee Agency said.

Congo has hosted the largest number of refugees – around 50,000 since December, including around 10,000 who arrived on Wednesday when the rebel coalition staged attacks on the outskirts of Bangui, the UN agency said. However, Cameroon has also seen an increase in the number of families, especially women and children, from the Central African Republic, he added.

“At the beginning when they arrived, they said it was a preventive movement, they were afraid because they remembered the violence they suffered in 2013,” said Helen Ngoh Ada, spokesperson for the United Nations Agency for Refugees in Cameroon. “Lately, those who came said that they had come deeply traumatized, and that they had suffered some form of abuse, of human rights violations, and that is why they fled,” he said. she said in an interview with The Associated Press.

People are allowed to cross from the Central African Republic to Cameroon, but the borders are closed to traders and trucks and supplies have not entered the Central African Republic for several days, Ngoh Ada said. “This means that the livelihoods of the people of the Central African Republic are threatened, and that will be one of the reasons people move to Cameroon,” she added.

Security forces repulsed attacks by rebels trying to capture Bangui on Wednesday, after heavy fighting on the outskirts of the city in a major escalation of violence that has rocked the country for the past month.

At least one Rwandan peacekeeper has been killed and one injured, the United Nations said. Central African Republic Prime Minister Firmin Ngrebada said at least 30 rebels were also dead.

The rebels protest against the re-election on December 27 of President Faustin-Archange Touadera. After the announcement of Touadera’s victory on January 4, the rebel coalition threatened to take the capital. They had also taken towns in other parts of the country before the elections.

The army is supported in its battle against the rebels by forces from Rwanda, Russia, France and the United Nations.

The mineral-rich Central African Republic has faced deadly interfaith and inter-community fighting since 2013, when predominantly Muslim rebels from the Seleka seized power from former President François Bozize after long claiming his marginalization. Resistance to the Seleka regime ultimately resulted in Muslims being targeted en masse, with some beaten to death, mosques destroyed and tens of thousands expelled from the capital in 2014.

Bozize has been accused of inflaming violence in the central African country in recent weeks, which erupted after the Constitutional Court rejected his candidacy in December.

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Fisch reported …

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