Four French peacekeepers released after arrest in Central African Republic

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Feb. 24 (UPI) — Four French soldiers have been released from custody in the Central African Republic, the chief of the United Nations’ peacekeeping force in that country said Thursday.

“The four staff members of #Minusca arrested last Friday at Bangui airport have just been released,” tweeted Mankeur Ndiaye, the U.N. special representative in the CAR.

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“All the sympathy of the Mission towards them. The United Nations will continue to ensure the protection of its assets and personnel in all circumstances.”

The French Embassy in the CAR also confirmed the news on Twitter.

Ndiaye is the current head of MINUSCA, the United Nations’ peacekeeping force in that country, first deployed in 2014 to provide humanitarian aid and protect civilians.

The four soldiers are part of MINUSCA and were arrested Monday while escorting a military official to the airport in the capitol, Bangui. At the time, police did not give a reason for their arrest.

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U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres criticized the arrests Wednesday, demanding their release.

The four soldiers were tasked with protecting the U.N. mission’s chief of staff, General Stéphane Marchenoir who was leaving for Paris from the airport.