News / Africa

Debate Continues Over UN Force for CAR

A French soldier waves through traffic as he mans a roadblock in the Miskine neighborhood of Bangui, Central African Republic, Jan. 6, 2014.
A French soldier waves through traffic as he mans a roadblock in the Miskine neighborhood of Bangui, Central African Republic, Jan. 6, 2014.
Anne Look
The U.N. Security Council is scheduled to discuss the situation in the Central African Republic Monday, amid mounting calls for a U.N. peacekeeping force to stop communal violence that exploded one month ago.  More than 1,000 people have died and nearly a million displaced from their homes.  French and regional troops in the CAR are not seen as impartial or entirely up to halting the clashes.

French and African Union troops intervened in the CAR after communal violence broke out in the capital Bangui on December 5, but the killing continues.  Religious and communal tensions are running high.

Some Central Africans said they want U.N. troops to intervene.

This Bangui resident, Mathieu Lamba, said "blue helmets mean protection for civilians."  He said, "judging by what has been going on in this city, I can tell you that French and the African Union troops have failed." 

He said the French troops were disarming fighters but they changed their tactics after they lost those two soldiers.  "We need U.N. troops to protect civilians and get life back to normal," said Lamba.

But others did't see what difference it would make.

Yakaka Abel, asked "Wouldn't the U.N. troops be coming to accomplish the same thing that the international troops already here are trying to do?  So shouldn't we just reevaluate and improve the strategies and techniques of these troops?"

  • French soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint in Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 22, 2013. Idriss Fall/VOA
  • A French solider with his machine gun at a checkpoint in Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 22, 2013. Idriss Fall/VOA
  • French soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint in Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 22, 2013. Idriss Fall/VOA
  • French soldiers at a checkpoint in Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 22, 2013. Idriss Fall/VOA
  • French soldiers stand ready at a checkpoint in Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 22, 2013. Idriss Fall/VOA
  • French soldiers atop a tank at a checkpoint, Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 22, 2013. Idriss Fall/VOA
  • French soldiers checking passenger cars at a checkpoint in Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 22, 2013. Idriss Fall/VOA
  • French soldiers at a checkpoint in Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 22, 2013. Idriss Fall/VOA

Analysts said that U.N. force would likely be the same international troops already there and just "re-hatted" in blue, something similar to what was done in Mali last year.

That process would probably take two to three months.

French officials are pushing for a U.N. force.  France currently has 1,600 troops in the CAR but cannot sustain a long-term military engagement and wants to hand it off by the middle of this year. 

That would likely not be possible unless the African Union troops get the kind of logistical and financial support that analysts said the U.N. could provide.

But analysts cautioned that the U.N. would be inheriting a problematic force.

Chadian troops, while seasoned and well-equipped, have tended to act autonomously in the CAR. They also may not meet standards for integration into a U.N. force.

The rest of the AU force has been weighed down by logistical issues, like delays transporting troops from their home countries.

The spokesman for the CAR's ex-rebel leader-turned-president said it was too soon to talk about blue helmets.

Presidential spokesman Guy Simplice Kodegue said they haven't even got the 6,000 African Union soldiers on the ground yet and that force doesn't have the appropriate funds in place.  He said, "let's focus on that instead of jumping ahead."

But some say a U.N. force would offer more guarantees of impartiality.

The French are accused of not cracking down on the mainly Christian militias and instead focusing on disarming the mainly Muslim rebels who plunged the country into chaos last March.

Chadian troops are accused of siding with those ex-Seleka rebels.

Head of research at the Kofi Annan Peacekeeping Training Center in Accra, Kwesi Aning, said re-hatting to the U.N. could mean more legitimacy.

"A U.N. force is better equipped, is better trained and is [more] ready to protect civilians," said Aning.

He said a U.N. approach was also more comprehensive. "The U.N. doesn't just say we are going in to separate the different parties.  The U.N. comes in and seeks to rebuild fundamental institutional infrastructure."

That's something that analysts said was essential for the CAR, which has mired in political unrest and poor humanitarian conditions for decades.

Jose Richard Pouambi contributed reporting from Bangui.

You May Like

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Yearsi
X
December 18, 2014 5:13 PM
Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Years

Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid