Three UN peacekeepers killed in Central African Republic amid turbulent elections
Three United Nations peacekeepers were killed in Central African Republic, the UN mission there said on Saturday, as the government and its allies tried to fend off a rebel offensive ahead of Sunday’s presidential and legislative elections.
For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.
The Burundian peacekeepers were killed on Friday by unidentified assailants in Dekoa, about 200 kilometer (125 miles) north of the capital Bangui, according to the UN mission, known as MINUSCA. Two more were injured, it said.
Peacekeepers were also attacked by unknown assailants in Bakouma in the southwest of the country, MINUSCA added.
Central African Republic, which is rich in diamonds, timber and gold, has experienced five coups and numerous rebellions since independence from France in 1960. It has been gripped by insecurity since former President Francois Bozize was ousted by a rebellion in 2013.
President Faustin-Archange Touadera is seeking a second term governing the country of five million on Sunday.
The constitutional court rejected Bozize’s presidential candidacy this month, saying he did not satisfy the “good morality” requirement because of an international arrest warrant and UN sanctions against him for allegedly ordering assassinations, torture and other crimes when he was president.
The United Nations also accuses him of collaborating with a coalition of militias to prevent the elections from going ahead.
Bozize has denied ordering or committing crimes when he was president while his party, the main opposition, has denied the UN allegation, saying they have no links to militia or rebels.
Reuters has not been able to reach Bozize for comment.
Attacks by rebel groups opposed to Touadera surged after the court rejected Bozize’s candidacy. They briefly seized the country’s fourth-largest city this week before being pushed back.
The constitutional court was due to rule on Saturday on an opposition request to delay the elections due to the insecurity. The government and MINUSCA have insisted they should go ahead.
Underscoring the fragility of the security situation, the army’s chief of staff said on Friday that a number of soldiers had deserted and told them to immediately rejoin their units.
President Touadera’s international security partners, including Russia, France and Rwanda, have responded to the violence by sending troops and equipment.
Three hundred Rwandan peacekeepers arrived from South Sudan on Thursday, MINUSCA said, while two Russian military helicopters were offloaded from a cargo plane at Bangui airport on Friday, according to photos and government sources.
200 Chinese moved amid violence in Central African Republic
Russia sends 300 more military instructors to Central African Republic
200 Chinese moved amid violence in Central African RepublicChina evacuated more than 200 nationals to a safer area after eight Chinese mining company vehicles were stolen during armed conflict ahead of an ... World News
Russia sends 300 more military instructors to Central African RepublicRussia has sent an extra 300 military instructors to the Central African Republic at the request of the country’s leadership to help counter a surge ... World News
Armed rebel groups in Central Africa form coalitionLeaders of the three main armed rebel groups occupying large areas of the Central African Republic announced a coalition Saturday, ahead of next ... World News