Members of the Egyptian Police Unit in MINUSCA upon their arrival at Bangui’s M'Poko International Airport to Fidel camp on Monday few hours before coming under attack. (photos courtesy of Official Twitter page of Police MINUSCA)
An Egyptian police unit that is part of MINUSCA — which includes 139 staff members, 14 of which are women — came under heavy fire from the Central African Presidential Guard without prior warning as they travelled by bus on their way from Bangui’s M’Poko International Airport to Fidel Camp.
The attack left ten of the officers wounded with two sustaining serious injuries.
The Egyptian unit was deployed in the Central African Republic as part of the periodic rotation and deployment of MINUSCA’s UN Police.
As it attempted to flee from the attack, the bus carrying the Egyptian unit ran over and killed a woman, the statement read.
“MINUSCA strongly condemns what appears to be a deliberate and unspeakable attack that there is no justification for,” said the statement, expressing the mission’s condolences to the families of the victims during a meeting at the end of the day.
MINUSCA’s leadership and members of the Central African Republic’s government will be starting an investigation in order to legally address the ramifications of the incident in accordance with the Agreement between the United Nations and the Government of the Central African Republic, the statement noted.
Egypt — which is the 7th largest contributor of uniformed personnel to the UN Peacekeeping Corps — has deployed nearly 3,100 military and police personnel to the UN peace operations in the Abyei Area, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Sudan, South Sudan, and the Western Sahara region, according to the latest UN figures.
Deputy head of MINUSCA Lizbeth Cullity said in August that Egypt’s military personnel contribution is the fourth largest in the mission, which is a demonstration of its ongoing commitment to peacekeeping.
Since 2016, a 1,130-strong Egyptian contingent has supported peacekeeping efforts in the Central African Republic through its police and military units.