UN probes deadly shoot­ing of Rwan­dan peace­keep­ers

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

The United Na­tions said Sun­day it is in­ves­ti­gat­ing a shoot­ing rampage that left five Rwan­dan peace­keep­ers dead in the Cen­tral African Re­pub­lic, in what Ki­gali said ap­peared to be a ter­ror­ist act.

The U.N. mis­sion here, known by its French acro­nym MINUSCA, is­sued a state­ment de­scrib­ing the shoot­ing Satur­day at the Rwan­dan con­tin­gent’s base in the cap­i­tal Ban­gui as an “un­prece­dented in­ci­dent since the start of the (CAR) mis­sion in 2014.”

“MINUSCA has opened an in­ves­ti­ga­tion to de­ter­mine the cir­cum­stances and the mo­tive” of the shoot­ing, it said.

In the rampage, one of the peace­keep­ers opened fire on his fel­low sol­diers, killing four of them and in­jur­ing eight be­fore he him­self was killed.

In Ki­gali, the Rwan­dan de­fense min­istry pointed to ter­ror­ism as the pos­si­ble mo­tive for the rampage.

“In­ves­ti­ga­tions so far point to­ward ter­ror­ism to be the mo­tive be­hind this de­plorable act, as ev­i­dence so far re­veals,” said spokesman Brig. Gen. Joseph Nz­abamwita with­out elab­o­rat­ing.

The de­fense min­istry state­ment also hailed the Rwan­dan sol­diers for hav­ing “en­gaged the as­sailant soldier, killing him and sav­ing the lives of other RDF (Rwan­dan army) peace­keep­ers.”

It added that the eight other sol­diers in­jured in the shoot­ing were be­ing treated in hos­pi­tal and were not in crit­i­cal con­di­tion.

The deadly shoot­ing was the worst such in­ci­dent to hit the U.N. peace­keep­ing mis­sion in the poor for­mer French colony since it was de­ployed in Septem­ber last year fol­low­ing in­ter-re­li­gious clashes that claimed thou­sands of lives.

The un­rest was spurred by a 2013 coup that ousted pres­i­dent Fran­cois Boz­ize and then pushed the coun­try into a con­flict that took on a re­li­gious di­men­sion, pit­ting sec­tions of Chris­tian and Mus­lim pop­u­la­tions against one another.

Largely Chris­tian “anti-bal­aka” — or anti-ma­chete — mili­tias were formed to avenge atroc­i­ties by the Seleka rebels who were be­hind the coup, re­sult­ing in waves of killing, rape and pil­lag­ing.

The Cen­tral African Re­pub­lic is set to hold elec­tions in Oc­to­ber, but the polls have al­ready been pushed back three times as the coun­try grap­ples with its worst cri­sis since in­de­pen­dence in 1960.

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