Four peacekeepers wounded in ambush in CAR: UN spokesman



A police patrol of the UN mission in Central African Republic (CAR) was ambushed by anti- Balaka elements, injuring four peacekeepers, a UN spokesperson said here on Wednesday.

"The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) reported that today a United Nations police patrol was ambushed by anti-Balaka elements in the Combatant neighborhood (8th district) of Bangui," Farhan Haq, the deputy UN spokesman, told reporters at a news briefing.

"The peacekeepers returned fire. The attack resulted in four peacekeepers being wounded: three by grenade and one by gunfire," he said, adding that the injured were immediately transported to the mission's hospital and were currently receiving medical care.

This is the second attack during this week.

On Oct. 9, a deadly ambush against a convoy of the mission left one "blue helmet" dead, one severely wounded and seven others slightly injured. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council deplored the attack by armed groups, and underlined that such act may be considered war crimes.

The CAR has been embroiled in fighting, fueled by what are believed as inter-communal retaliatory attacks between anti-Balaka and Seleka rebels, after the latter were ousted from power in January 2014. An estimated 2.2 million people are believed to be in need of humanitarian aid as a result.

The newly-established MINUSCA, which was officially deployed in September, prioritizes the protection of civilians and facilitation of political process, including implementation of provisions of the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, and setting up a mechanism to investigate violations.

According to the latest UN figures, MINUSCA's presence stands at some 10,000 military personnel, 1,820 police and a complement of civilian staff that are progressively deploying throughout the country. Enditem