from OMAN MBIKO in Bangui, Central African Republic
BANGUI, (CAJ News) – THE arrest of four peacekeepers in the Central African Republic (CAR) is the latest twist to the crisis bedeviling the country.
The French members of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSCA) were arrested on Monday at the airport in the capital Bangui.
They were escorting a senior military officer of the mission.
They remained in detention at the time of going to press on Thursday.
Authorities did not confirm the charges but it has been alleged they were part of a ploy by France to assassinate CAR President, Faustin Archange Touadera.
He landed at the airport on the same day from Belgium where he attended European Union-African Union summit.
António Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, condemned the arrest.
A spokesperson of the UN chief highlighted that, pursuant to the 2014 status-of-forces agreement between the UN and government of the CAR, peacekeepers enjoy privileges and immunities which are held in the interest of the UN.
The 2014 status-of-forces agreement establishes a specific procedure in cases where members of MINUSCA are suspected, by the authorities of the CAR, of having committed an offence.
“The Secretary-General notes that this procedure has not been followed in the present case,” Guterres said.
Guterres urged the government to release the MINUSCA personnel unconditionally and without delay.
CAR has suffered multiple crises since militants overthrew François Bozize in 2013.
At least 161 peacekeepers have been killed since the insurgency.
– CAJ News