MINUSCA condemns chronic violence against civilians in southeastern Central African Republic
The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) condemns the recent attacks on civilians and peacekeepers in Pombolo, Mbomou Prefecture in which two civilians were killed and 27 injured on 17 July 2018. Three peacekeepers were also wounded while trying to protect civilians from assailants. The attack is the latest in a series of human rights violations and atrocity crimes committed in Basse-Kotto, Mbomou and Haut-Mbomou in southeastern Central African Republic (CAR) between May and December 2017, according to an information note released by the United Nations today.
MINUSCA human rights investigations found that the Unité pour la Paix en Centrafrique(UPC) and local anti-Balaka associated militias were the main perpetrators of these crimes, many of which could constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The 17 July attacks are part of a series of gross human rights abuses in Pombolo and other towns in southeastern CAR. Investigators from MINUSCA’s Human Rights Division concluded that that UPC and anti-Balaka armed groups have likely killed over 600 persons in and around the towns of Alindao, Kembé, Pombolo, Zémio, Bangassou and Gambo, between May and December 2017. MINUSCA believes most of the victims were civilians or other protected persons.
The violations and abuses committed by these armed groups – which include killings, rapes, recruitment and use of children and deliberate attacks on religious sites and hospitals – have forced tens of thousands of civilians into internal displacement or exile as refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
MINUSCA has identified 250 alleged individual perpetrators – ranging from instigators and senior commanders to low-ranking fighters and supporters of armed groups. These names form part of an ever-growing number of suspects that could support the efforts of the CAR government to end impunity and bring perpetrators to justice.
MINUSCA will continue working with the CAR authorities to restore security in southeastern CAR and facilitate the return of IDPs and refugees. MINUSCA calls on the UPC and anti-Balaka associated militias operating in the region to cease all attacks against the civilian population and to respect their obligations under International Humanitarian Law.