U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has condemned the killing of four peacekeepers in the Central African Republic, following an attack on their convoy by suspected anti-Balaka militants.
MINUSCA, the U.N. mission in the C.A.R., issued a statement Tuesday confirming the death of one Cambodian peacekeeper and later added it was “deeply saddened to confirm that three of the four peacekeepers that were missing in action since yesterday’s attack have been found dead.”
The convoy was attacked near Yogofongo village, more than 470 kilometers from the central African country’s capital Bangui.
Guterres also called on all parties in the C.A.R. “to heed President Faustin Archange Touadera’s call to cease violence and work together towards the stability of the country.”
The Central African Republic has dealt with years of fighting since a mostly Muslim rebel group, the Seleka, overthrew President Francois Bozize in March of 2013. Killings by the Seleka triggered the rise of mainly Christian militias known as the anti-Balaka.
U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters Tuesday that the country’s justice system is “under some strain.”
“We will be working with them, and obviously the peacekeeping mission will be working alongside them, to try to track down those who are responsible,” Dujarric said. “As I mentioned, eight anti-Balaka fighters were killed in the firefight. They from all intents and purposes appear to have initiated this attack on the peacekeeping convoy.”
In addition to those killed, MINUSCA said eight peacekeepers were injured in the attack.
The violence comes just days after five international agencies temporarily suspended operations in the northern region of the war-torn country citing attacks on humanitarian workers by armed groups.