United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Saturday said he stood in solidarity with the Central African Republic (CAR), as violence against civilians and UN peacekeepers again increases.
His statement follows an attack Thursday on an IDP camp in the town of Alindao that left at least 37 people dead. That attack was attributed to the UPC (Union for Peace in the Central African Republic).
The armed group arises primarily from former Muslim Séléka rebel groups engaged for years in conflict with Christian anti-Balaka militia, though their alliances are not solely rooted in faith affiliation.
A Tanzanian peacekeeper was killed in a separate attack Friday on a base of the UN mission in the country, MINUSCA. UN peacekeepers were protecting civilians seeking refuge in the Gbambia camp when the village was attacked by what are believed to be Siriri fighters. The Siriri militants also evolved from the former Séléka groups.
“The Secretary General is greatly concerned at the rise in violence in recent days in the Central African Republic,” said Guterres spokesman Stéphane Dujarric , who released the statement.
“The Secretary-General offers his deepest condolences to the families of all the victims, as well as to the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania,” he said. Guterres also warned that “attacks against United Nations peacekeepers as well as those against defenseless civilians may constitute war crimes.”
He called on CAR authorities to conduct a thorough investigation.
Image: MINUSCA file