AFRICA/CENTRAL AFRICA - New allegations regarding the behavior of UN peacekeepers

Saturday, 26 August 2017 un   armed groups   violence  

Bangui (Agenzia Fides) - The UN forces in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) are still being accused of not defending civilians from militia attacks in villages in the southeast.
Some Catholic priests whose villages have been attacked have taken to Facebook to express outrage and appeal for help.
"You were warned, but you deliberately decided to abandon this town", wrote Fr. Jean-Alain Zembi, rector of Zemio, on the nation's border with Congo, addressing the MINUSCA peacekeepers.
"This community is being sacrificed, and I will hold you responsible for all those dead and preparing to die".
In an Aug. 20 Facebook message, the priest said at least 30 townspeople had been killed when armed groups attacked the police headquarters and hospital, burning houses and stealing valuables.
He added that Moroccan troops from the U.N.-backed military mission, MINUSCA, had initially tried to protect local civilians, but had been unable to prevent "innocent women and children being left to their sad fate".
Meanwhile, another Catholic priest, Father Desire Kpangou, said the attackers wore turbans and spoke neither French nor the local language, Sango, suggesting they had come from nearby Sudan.
All the area that belongs to the diocese of Bangassou (see Fides 10/8/2017) is in the hands of armed gangs: former Seleka rebels or the so-called Anti Balaka, self-defense groups, who have become bandits. The Moroccan contingent of the U.N. peacekeepers, MINUSCA are accused not only of not defending the population but also of killing innocent civilians. Imam Oumar Kobine Layama, leader of the platform of Religious Confessions in the Central African Republic (PCRC) has recently asked the contingent to leave the area because it has failed in its duty to protect civilians (see Fides 11/8/2017). (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 26/8/2017)