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AU: CAR a ‘Legitimate Partner’ to Improve Security

  • Peter Clottey

Rwandan African Union peacekeepers remove the lucky charms from a suspected Anti-Balaka Christian man who was found with a rifle and a grenade in a Muslim market in Bangui, Central African Republic, Jan. 24, 2014.

Rwandan African Union peacekeepers remove the lucky charms from a suspected Anti-Balaka Christian man who was found with a rifle and a grenade in a Muslim market in Bangui, Central African Republic, Jan. 24, 2014.

The formation of a new transitional government is being welcomed as “a legitimate partner” for the African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA), in a bid to stabilize the security situation, says Eloi Yao, an African Union spokesman.

His comments came after U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay expressed concern about the deteriorating security situation in CAR

Yao says troops from the African-led force are implementing security measures to create an environment to enable humanitarian groups to provide much needed assistance to unarmed civilians displaced by the conflict.

“With this government that is a legitimate government, they will help MISCA to have partners that can talk to directly so that the MISCA can implement its mandate, and engage in regular dialogue with the members of the government,” said Yao.

He says next week Rwanda will complete the deployment of the rest of its troops to help with MISCA’s stabilization efforts. Yao says the deployment of the Rwandan troops has been a significant boost to MISCA’s objectives.

“The deployment is almost complete. As of today, we have over 700 troops in the CAR and the last batch of the Rwandese contingent will be in Bangui by February 4 or 5,” said Yao. “Once they have completed the deployment the next move will be to move to the other regions so that we can provide them with the same level of security we are providing in Bangui.”

Humanitarian groups are expressing concern about the shortage of food and other supplies after their trucks were held up by armed groups. Yao says MISCA troops have launched a one-week security operation to free up the trucks as well as escort them to Bangui.

“Those vehicles that have humanitarian items have been there for a while so MISCA provided some escorts to the area and they have been able to solve that issue,” said Yao. “So that operation will be going on for four to five days to clear the area so that groups can deliver food and many other items that the humanitarian agencies have planned for the IDPs [internally displaced persons]. So the operation was very successful and ongoing.”

Many Muslim civilians are fleeing Bangui fearing reprisal attacks after Seleka Muslim rebels began fleeing their main camp on Monday. But, Yao says MISCA continues to work closely with French troops to contain the security threats to civilians affected by the wave of violence.

“There have been some acts of violence and MISCA has been working hand in hand with French troops, and we have been able to try to control the situation. So MISCA is working to try to end this acts of violence and vandalism against some parts of the population,” he said.

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