A Rwandan member of the so-called blue helmets United Nations peacekeeping force was killed Monday in an attack by an armed group in the Central African Republic, a UN spokesman said.
“Earlier today a peacekeeper from Rwanda was killed when his unit came under attack by members of an unidentified armed group” during a patrol of the village of Sam-Ouandja in the eastern prefecture of Haute-Kotto, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres‘ spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.
“We add our voice to that of the head of the peacekeeping mission, Valentine Rugwabiza, in strongly condemning this attack,” he said.
Three of the assailants were also killed when the peacekeepers returned fire, Dujarric added.
The blue helmets were deployed to Sam-Ouandja last week “in response to an attack on the town by an armed group, which fled after an initial intervention by peacekeepers,” he said.
“Over the past five days the mission has expanded its security perimeter around the town to protect the community and support the safe delivery of humanitarian aid,” Dujarric added.
The peacekeepers will remain in place in the village, he said, adding that the MINUSCA mission was in contact with Central African authorities about sending national troops as reinforcement.
At least 32 troops and police officers from UN peacekeeping missions were killed around the world in 2022, including four in the Central African Republic, according to UN data.