Three United Nations peacekeepers from Burundi were killed and two others wounded by what the U.N. termed “unidentified armed combatants” in the Central African Republic on Friday as the country heads toward national elections Sunday.
The U.N. said in a statement that the assaults on U.N. and Central African forces took place in Dékoa, in the Kémo prefecture, and Bakouma, in the Mbomou prefecture, but did not give further details.
Secretary-General António Guterres’ spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said attacks against U.N. peacekeepers “may constitute a war crime.”
Guterres, according to the statement, called on Central African authorities to investigate the “heinous” assaults and “swiftly bring perpetrators to justice.”
Guterres reaffirmed the U.N.’s continued commitment to work closely with national, regional and international partners, the statement said, for peace and stability in the Central African Republic.
The Coalition of Patriots for Change, a rebel group that has been battling the government, Friday canceled a three-day cease-fire and said it would resume pushing toward Bangui, the capital.
Meanwhile, Faustin Archange Touadera, the country’s president, has accused predecessor Francois Bozize, of planning a coup.
Bozize, sanctioned by U.N. and prohibited from running, has denied the accusation.