One Rwandan peacekeeper was killed and eight others wounded in the Central African Republic (CAR) during fresh clashes with armed groups on Tuesday, a Rwandan military spokesperson said on Wednesday.
Innocent Munyengango said the deceased Rwanda Defense Force (RDF) peacekeeper, who was serving under United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the CAR (MINUSCA), died during an disarmament and arrest operation against armed groups in Bangui’s mainly Muslim PK5 neighborhood.
“The Rwandan peacekeepers had been deployed to rescue civilians who had been attacked by the armed elements. The peacekeepers managed to stop the fight and rescue civilians but unfortunately one of our soldiers lost his life and eight were wounded,” he added.
Munyengango noted that preparations were underway to repatriate the body of the fallen peacekeeper to Rwanda for burial.
The injured peacekeepers are receiving medical treatment and are recuperating, Munyengango said.
According to MINUSCA, the residents of PK5 have repeatedly called on the UN peacekeepers to intervene and put an end to the predatory activities of criminal gangs.
These gangs are responsible for extensive abuses against the local population, including extorting merchants and attacking civilians, while blocking the return of state authorities, according to MINUSCA.
“Heavily armed elements of criminal groups in the area deliberately fired on international forces, prompting a return of fire to push these elements back,” said MINUSCA.
Rwanda maintains 986 peacekeepers in the CAR, including an infantry battalion, a mechanized company and a level-2 military hospital.