Two United Nations peacekeepers were killed after their convoy was ambushed by members of the UPC and anti-Balaka armed groups in southern Central African Republic (CAR), the UN Mission in the country said.
The attack took place 17 kilometres (about 11 miles) from Bangassou, the capital of the Mbomou prefecture.
UN peacekeepers had retaken control of the city on Friday, after it captured two weeks earlier by anti-government armed groups.
Mankeur Ndiaye, head of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in CAR (MINUSCA), strongly condemned the attack and stressed that the Mission “will work with the Central African authorities to ensure that the perpetrators and accomplices of these war crimes are arrested and held accountable for their acts.”
The deceased peacekeepers were from Gabon and Morocco.
Ndiaye, also the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for CAR, said that the UN Mission “has paid a heavy price” in the service of peace.
MINUSCA has lost seven peacekeepers since anti-Balaka, 3R, MPC and Unity for Peace in Central Africa (UPC) armed groups – allies of former president François Bozizé – launched coordinated and simultaneous attacks.
In spite of the challenges, the UN Mission “remains committed to pursuing its mandate of protecting civilian populations and securing elections,” he added.