Bangui - The UN said on Sunday it is investigating a
shooting rampage that left five Rwandan peacekeepers dead in the Central
African Republic (CAR), in what Kigali said appeared to be a terrorist act.
The UN mission here, known by its French acronym MINUSCA,
issued a statement describing the shooting on Saturday at the Rwandan
contingent's base in the capital Bangui as an "unprecedented incident
since the start of the [CAR] mission in 2014”.
"MINUSCA has opened an investigation to determine
the circumstances and the motive" of the shooting, it said.
In the rampage, one of the peacekeepers opened fire on
his fellow soldiers, killing four of them and injuring eight before he himself
In Kigali, the Rwandan defence ministry pointed to
terrorism as the possible motive for the rampage.
"Investigations so far point toward terrorism to be
the motive behind this deplorable act, as evidence so far reveals," said
spokesperson Brigadier General Joseph Nzabamwita without elaborating.
The defence ministry statement also hailed the Rwandan
soldiers for having "engaged the assailant soldier, killing him and saving
the lives of other RDF [Rwandan army] peacekeepers."
It added that the eight other soldiers injured in the
shooting were being treated in hospital and were not in critical condition.
The deadly shooting was the worst such incident to hit
the UN peacekeeping mission in the poor former French colony since it was
deployed in September last year following inter-religious clashes that claimed
thousands of lives.
The unrest was spurred by a 2013 coup that ousted
president Francois Bozize and then pushed the country into a conflict that took
on a religious dimension, pitting sections of Christian and Muslim populations
against one another.
Largely Christian "anti-balaka" - or anti-machete
- militias were formed to avenge atrocities by the Seleka rebels who were
behind the coup, resulting in waves of killing, rape and pillaging.
The CAR is set to hold elections in October, but the
polls have already been pushed back three times as the country grapples with
its worst crisis since independence in 1960.
The MINUSCA force comprises 10 800 troops drawn from
Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea,
Gabon, Rwanda, Morocco, Senegal, Pakistan and Indonesia.