The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General António Guterres:
The Secretary-General condemns yesterday’s ambush on United Nations peacekeepers in the Central African Republic. Two peacekeepers, from Gabon and Morocco, serving with the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), were killed by alleged Coalition des Patriotes pour le Changement combatants in Bangassou, Mbomou Prefecture.
The Secretary-General expresses his deep condolences to the families of the peacekeepers, and to the people and Governments of Gabon and Morocco. He recalls that attacks against United Nations peacekeepers may constitute a war crime, and appeals to national authorities to investigate these incidents and bring the perpetrators to justice.
The Secretary-General reiterates his grave concern over the escalation of violence in the Central African Republic. He calls on all parties to immediately cease hostilities and engage in dialogue to advance the political process, preserve fragile gains and fulfil the country’s aspiration for lasting peace.
Already this year, nine United Nations peacekeepers have been killed in hostile incidents around the world. This demonstrates yet again the perilous environment in which peacekeepers carry out their mandates to protect people and support peace processes — tasks made harder by the global pandemic. While progress has been made in reducing casualties among United Nations peacekeepers, recent incidents show that the threats continue. Our collective efforts to ensure the safety of peacekeepers, including through the Action for Peacekeeping initiative, need to keep pace.
The Secretary-General salutes the service, sacrifice and selflessness of the women and men who are serving, or have lost their lives while serving, under the banner of the United Nations in some of the world’s most dangerous places.