LRA militants kill UN peacekeeper in CAR

Lord Resistance Army militants attack United Nations peacekeepers while they were patrolling in Central African Republic, killing one

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

A Senegalese soldier from the MINUSCA, the United Nations mission in Central African Republic, runs for cover as heavy gunfire is directed towards the Baya Dombia school where voters where gathering for the Constitutional Referendum.

A Moroccon United Nations peacekeeper has been killed in an alleged attack carried out by members of the militant group, Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), in Central African Republic, according to a UN statement.

Peacekeepers were fired at when they were patrolling in the Rafai town of Mbomou province to look into an attack near Agoumar Village, the statement said.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the killing in Rafai town late Monday.

The statement also added that, “The peacekeeper was shot by unknown assailants and succumbed to his wounds later that afternoon.”

"The attacks against those who are working towards peace and security in the Central African Republic are unacceptable," Ban said, taking quotes from the statement.

According to the US Department of State, “the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has been active since 1986, making it one of Africa’s oldest, most violent, and persistent armed groups. The LRA was formed in northern Uganda to fight against the Government of Uganda, and operated there from 1986 to 2006. At the height of the conflict, nearly two million people in northern Uganda were displaced.”

In 2005, the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for the LRA leader Joseph Kony and four other top figures,Vincent Otti, Okot Odhiambo, Dominic Ongwen, and Raska Lukwiya, for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

According to information posted on the group at the State Department's official website, Otti and Lukwiya are now believed to be dead but other top figures remain at large. 

Local media outlets accuse the militant group of kidnapping nearly 20,000 children since the 1980's, with the intention of either enslaving them or training them as militants. 

Central African Republic has been in a cycle of violence for three years.

In March 2013, united opposition group Seleka -mainly Muslim- overthrew president Francois Bozize who has been highly criticised for corruption and abuses of human rights. After Seleka came to power and took control of the whole country, a militia group called Anti-Balaka declared a war against Seleka and carried out large scale attacks against Muslims in Central African Republic.

A UN peacekeeping mission has been deployed after the violence started to storm the land-locked country in order to stop the escalating violence.

TRTWorld and agencies