Last updateSam, 31 Jan 2015 4pm

Rwandan peacekeepers attacked in CAR

Kigali , Rwanda - A convoy of vehicles of the Rwandan contingent in the African-led International Support Mission in Central African Republic (MISCA), came under attack from the mainly Christian anti-balaka militia at the weekend as it escorted a group of Central African refugees to Cameroon, the Rwandan army said in a statement obtained by PANA Tuesday in Kigali.

According to the spokesperson of the Rwandan army, Brig.-Gen. Joseph Nzabamwita, the peacekeepers were escorting a 70-vehicle humanitarian and commercial goods convoy from the capital Bangui to the Cameroonian sea port of Douala when they found civilians under attack at several roadblocks mounted by the anti-balaka militia (along the 700 km road to the CAR-Cameroon border).

'The attack occurred in the evening in a place called Beloko, located not far from the border with Cameroon. At least three out of the 2,000 civilians were killed in the attack,'he said, adding that several were wounded and were immediately evacuated to a nearby hospital.

In a statement, the Rwandan army condemned, in the strongest terms the attack against a humanitarian convoy while calling upon all armed groups in Central Africa to disarm and stop the violence that targets groups of 'innocent civilians ' .

Since their deployment to the Central African Republic last January, the Rwandan 850-men contingent serving under the African Union mission in CAR has managed to open a 700 km- long humanitarian corridor connecting the CAR Capital, Bangui, to the border with Cameroon.

The anti-Balaka militias ('enemies of peace'), made up of Christian peasants armed with machetes and guns, set up ambush on the regular basis on roads connecting the CAR capital to other destinations to sow chaos in the country, a few months after President Michel Djotodia and Prime Minister Nicolas Tiengaye were forced to resign amid international pressure.

According to a recent report, released by Human Rights Watch (HRW), the crisis in CAR took a religious dimension in March last year when predominantly Muslim Seleka rebels attacked predominantly Christian villages, prompting Christian youths to mobilize, under the banner of ‘Anti-Balaka” for reprisal attacks.

Pana 19/02/2014