Guterres condemns arrest of UN forces in Central African Republic, calls for release

UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has condemned the detention of four personnel of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and demanded that they be released immediately.

While escorting a senior military officer of the mission, the UN soldiers were arrested by the Central African Republic (CAR) gendarmerie in Bangui on Monday.

According to reports, the UN Secretary-General emphasised on Wednesday that these MINUSCA members possess privileges and immunities that are held in the UN's interest under the 2014 status-of-forces agreement between the UN and the government of the CAR relating to MINUSCA.

The top UN official reminded that the 2014 status-of-forces agreement specifies a specific procedure in circumstances when MINUSCA members are accused of having committed an offence by CAR authorities. This protocol, according to Guterres, has not been followed in this case.

The UN Secretary-General urged the CAR government to honour all of its international commitments, including the status-of-forces agreement, and release these MINUSCA members "unconditionally and without delay."

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