UN: UN police ambushed, illegally detained by armed group in CAR

New York, US (PANA) - Seven UN police were ambushed and illegally detained by armed
elements last Sunday in a province near the Central African Republic (CAR) capital of
Bangui, according to reports from the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in CAR (MINUSCA).

A UN statement on Tuesday quoted MINUSCA as stating: "The police were held near Boali in the Ombella Mpoko prefecture in the country’s south west, allegedly by anti-Balaka elements.
All police were freed the same night, but without their equipment and weapons."

It also disclosed that in a separate incident on Sunday, a MINUSCA position in Damara, also in Ombella Mpoko, was fired upon by three unknown armed men, and the peacekeepers returned fire, killing one assailant and seizing a number of weapons.

It noted that two of the assailants managed to escape.

The statement, obtained by PANA in New York, said that "the mission in CAR strongly condemns attacks against its peacekeepers and calls for swift action to bring the perpetrators in both crimes to justice."

It said: "The mission underlines that attacks targeting peacekeepers may constitute a war against crime and reminds all parties of their obligations under international humanitarian law."

It also noted that the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under Secretary-General for
Humanitarian Affairs, Stephen O’Brien, on Monday left for CAR to take stock of the ongoing
humanitarian crisis.

During his visit, he hopes to meet displaced people in Bangui and in Dekoa in Kemo province, and is expected to meet President Catherine Samba-Panza and other senior officials and representatives of the humanitarian community to discuss challenges in delivering assistance and ways of improving response to those affected by the crisis.

MINUSCA, set up in April 2014 to help bring peace after a breakdown of governmental authority and vicious intercommunal fighting between mainly the Muslim Seleka group and the mainly Christian anti-Balaka movement, currently maintains nearly 11,000 uniformed personnel in the country, one of the world’s poorest.
-0- PANA AA/VAO 20Oct2015

20 october 2015 12:58:11

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