Rwandan peacekeeper kills 4 colleagues in Central African Republic

Story highlights

  • Rwandan soldier killed 4 colleagues, injured eight others before killing himself, military says
  • Incident happened in Central African Republic, where Rwandan trooper were serving as peacekeepers
  • Motive not yet known, military says

(CNN)A Rwandan soldier working as a U.N. peacekeeper in the Central African Republic turned a gun on his colleagues early Saturday, killing four and injuring eight others before killing himself, the Rwandan military said.

The shooting happened at the Rwandan peacekeepers' headquarters in the Central African Republic's capital of Bangui at about 5:45 a.m.
    Like the gunman, all 12 of those killed or hurt in the shooting were members of the Rwandan military, serving as U.N. peacekeepers in Bangui.
    "Investigations have immediately commenced to establish the motive behind this deplorable shooting of his ... colleagues," said Brig. Gen. Joseph Nzabamwita, a spokesman for the Rwandan military.
    The peacekeeping operation in the landlocked Central African Republic, one of the world's poorest nations, stems from political violence that began in 2013.
    France and African nations sent peacekeepers after a coalition of mostly Muslim rebels ousted President Francois Bozize in March 2013. Christian and Muslim militias continued to battle for control before a tentative political transition began.
    The violence prompted a humanitarian crisis, as hundreds of thousands of people fled their homes. Some sought refuge in neighboring countries, but many others were internally displaced, living in makeshift camps.
    After the initial wave of peacekeepers, the United Nations in 2014 formally established a U.N. peacekeeping force of up to 11,800 troops, a force to which Rwanda contributes.
    The United Nations warned in May that the Central African Republic was "quickly becoming the largest forgotten humanitarian crisis of our time," with some 60% of the population of 4.6 million still in need of aid, including nearly 900,000 people forcibly displaced by conflict.