UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Twelve armed men were killed in a clash on Sunday with the United Nations peacekeeping force and another government while they were trying to infiltrate a city in the northeastern Central African Republic, authorities announced on Tuesday.
For its part, the peacekeeping force (Minuska) stated in a statement that “following the entry of heavily armed fighters from the Popular Front for the Renaissance of Central Africa into the city of Birao, the peacekeepers accompanied by the South African armed forces repelled these elements.”
“The death toll has reached 12,” government spokesman Ang-Maksim Kazagi said in a statement on Tuesday.
On Sunday, the Popular Front for the Rise of the Central African Republic launched a new attack on this city in the northeast of the country which is controlled by the Central African Liberation Movement for Justice, which is a rival militia.
Birao regularly witnesses battles between the two movements, despite the signing of a peace agreement reached a year ago in Khartoum between 14 armed groups, and battles are taking place between these militants and the government.
The agreement to end a bloody civil war that erupted in 2013 led to a significant reduction in the intensity of the fighting, but two thirds of the country’s territory remains under the control of rebel groups.
Central Africa continues to witness sporadic battles and abuses against civilians, despite the deployment of the international force since 2014.
Kazagi said in the statement that “the Popular Front for the Renaissance of Central Africa penetrated from three axes in the town of Birao” on Sunday, adding that “the targets of these attacks appear to be the location of the displaced and the base of the armed forces of Central Africa.”
On Thursday, the peacekeepers were summoned by French warplanes flying over Birao to deter a previous attack by fighters of the Popular Front for the Renaissance of Central Africa, international force spokesman Vladimir Monteiro told AFP on Saturday.
The United Nations peacekeeping force has a base in Birao, and a unit of international soldiers from Zambia is monitoring the situation in the city.
The battles and insecurity in Central Africa displaced a quarter of the 4.7 million people.
Central African presidential elections are scheduled for December 2020.
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