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UN Peacekeeper Killed In Central African Republic

A Burundian peacekeeper was killed Friday during an ambush by rebels in the Central African Republic, the United Nations said, the fifth soldier killed since a rebel offensive began.

The soldier died in an ambush by a coalition of rebels near Grimari, roughly 300 kilometres northeast of the capital Bangui, the UN said, during a security mission to the town with Burundian and Bangladeshi peacekeepers.

MINUSCA — the UN peacekeeping force in the region — also said that two Bangladeshi soldiers were lightly wounded.

In a statement from New York, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the attack and reiterated his “deep concern over the continued destabilisation efforts by armed groups throughout the country”.

Guterres urged all parties to immediately stop the violence and resolve their differences through peaceful means.

The Security Council strongly condemned the attack on the troops in a separate statement.

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In a declaration unanimously adopted by the council, it also condemned “all attacks, provocations and incitement to violence against MINUSCA by armed groups and other authors”.

It follows a month-long rebellion after six of the most powerful armed groups, who have occupied roughly two-thirds of the country for eight years, united.

The coalition announced an offensive ahead of the December 27 presidential and legislative vote, aimed at preventing Faustin Archange Toudera’s re-election.

Landlocked CAR is one of the world’s poorest nations and has seen a string of coups and wars since it gained independence from France in 1960.

On Wednesday, the rebel forces mounted their closest attack yet to Bangui before being pushed back with the loss of a peacekeeper, the UN said.

On January 4, President Touadera was declared the victor, although the political opposition cried foul.

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