By Amos Fofung
Three United Nations, UN peacekeepers have been killed in the Central African Republic (CAR) as tensions flare between government and rebel forces barely hours into the country’s presidential and parliamentary elections.
The UN said the three peacekeeping forces were killed when unidentified combatants carried out two attacks that left two other peacekeepers injured.
The group was stationed in CAR to quell violence ahead of Sunday’s elections. Earlier this week, Rwanda and Russia sent peacekeeping forces to support the peace initiative in the country
At the time of this report, no news as to the perpetrators of the attack had been made public but President Faustin Archange Touadéra has been quoted by international media to have accused his predecessor François Bozizé of fomenting a coup with rebel groups.
Bozizé, who is barred from running in the election and is under UN sanctions, has denied the allegation.
Recall that on December 3, 2020, the Constitutional Court ruled that Bozizé did not satisfy the “good morality” requirement for candidates because of an international warrant and UN sanctions against him for alleged assassinations, torture, and other crimes during his rule.
Noted for seizing power after a coup in 2003 and subsequently winning two elections that were widely seen as fraudulent François Bozizé was ousted in 2013 by the Séléka rebels – a rebel coalition drawn largely from the Muslim minority – which accused him of breaking peace agreements.
On 24 March 2013, Bozizé fled to Cameroon via the Democratic Republic of the Congo after the rebel forces attacked Bangui and took control of the presidential palace. In Cameroon, he was housed by Paul Biya, president of the republic and longtime ally.
He returned to CAR in 2019 and has been largely accused of attempting to further destabilize the fragile country.
CAR is one of Africa’s poorest and most unstable countries, even though it is rich in resources like diamonds and uranium. The UN estimates that half of the population are dependent on humanitarian assistance and up to a fifth have been displaced.