Three peacekeepers killed in CAR as rebel group calls off truce

Killings come as violence escalates a day before CAR voters head to polls to choose a president and a new parliament.

Unidentified “armed combatants” have killed three Burundian peacekeepers in the Central African Republic (CAR), the United Nations said on Friday, hours after a rebel coalition fighting the government called off a unilateral truce and reiterated calls for the suspension of a general election scheduled to take place on Sunday.

The attacks against the Burundian peacekeepers took place in Dekoa, central Kemo prefecture, and in Bakouma, southern Mbomou prefecture, the UN said in a brief statement.

“Three peacekeepers from Burundi were killed and two others were wounded” following the attacks, the statement said, without providing further details.

The elections on Sunday are deemed a key test of CAR’s ability to recover stability after decades of armed conflict.

In the week before voting day, incumbent President Faustin-Archange Touadera accused his predecessor Francois Bozize of plotting a coup, a militia briefly seized the country’s fourth-biggest town, and Russia and Rwanda sent military personnel to help shore up Touadera’s government.

The insecurity and fears of attacks have panicked the population, with 55,000 people leaving their homes, according to the UN.

On Thursday, the UN mission in South Sudan also sent 300 peacekeepers to CAR to help the country “secure the elections”.

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