News / Africa

UN Preparing for Possible CAR Peacekeeping Force

FILE - A truck with former Seleka coalition rebels drives through Bangui, Central African Republic, Oct. 7, 2013.
FILE - A truck with former Seleka coalition rebels drives through Bangui, Central African Republic, Oct. 7, 2013.
Reuters
The United Nations is preparing to possibly deploy peacekeepers to Central African Republic, but if the crisis there worsens quickly before such a force is ready, it could redeploy troops from nearby U.N. missions, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said on Monday.
 
The landlocked, mineral-rich nation of 4.6 million people has slipped into chaos since northern Seleka rebels seized the capital, Bangui, in March and ousted President Francois Bozize. Rights groups say both sides may have committed war crimes.
 
There is currently a 2,500-strong regional peacekeeping force in Central African Republic that was deployed by the Economic Community of Central African States. Ban said the African Union is due to take charge of that force in December and boost its size to 3,600 troops.
 
Ban said the African Union and the Economic Community of Central African States have signaled their support for eventually transforming the African Union force into a U.N. peacekeeping operation, but not in the immediate future as they want a chance to try and combat the crisis first.
 
“I have instructed the [U.N.] Secretariat to prepare plans accordingly, pending a decision of the Security Council,” Ban wrote in a report to the 15-member U.N. Security Council.
 
“Should there be a precipitous deterioration in the situation in the Central African Republic, the United Nations could also respond on an emergency basis, once authorized by the Security Council and the relevant troop-contributing countries, by drawing on assets as well as troops from neighboring peacekeeping missions,” he said.
 
Central African Republic is rich in gold, diamonds and uranium, but decades of instability and the spillover from conflicts in its larger neighbors have left the country mired in cycles of crises.
 
Senior U.N. officials have warned that Central African Republic is at risk of spiraling into genocide, as armed groups incite Christians and Muslims against each other in the virtually lawless country.
 
“While the conflict was not, at its origin, a religious or ethnic one, the increasing attacks and indiscriminate retaliations have created a climate of deep suspicion between Christians and Muslims in some areas of the country,” Ban said.
 
“Further tensions between communities, including through the political manipulation of these fears, might well lead to uncontrollable sectarian violence with untold consequences for the country, the sub-region and beyond,” he said.

Responsiblity to act
 
Ban said the African force, which has been mandated by the African Union for six months, faces significant operational challenges and will need a lot of external support.
 
He presented four support options in his report, ranging from financial and logistical support for an African mission from individual countries and regional organizations to a comprehensive U.N. support package funded through assessed contributions.
 
A fifth option presented was the transformation of the African force into a full-scale U.N. peacekeeping mission. Ban said such a force would have an initial strength of 6,000 troops with the option of increasing that to 9,000 if the situation worsened. The force would also include 1,700 police.
 
“The United Nations force operate under robust rules of engagement with a mandate to use all necessary means to deny armed groups freedom of movement and access to the major cities,” Ban said.
 
But he added that a number of conditions would need to be in place for a U.N. peacekeeping mission to be deployed, including the political framework for a transition and for the transitional government to distinguish between forces who represent the state and those who do not.
 
French diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they planned to propose in December a U.N. Security Council resolution - based on Ban's report - to provide support for the African Union peacekeeping force.
 
Security Council diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a final decision on whether to deploy a new U.N. peacekeeping force in Africa would not be made until after the African Union troops have a chance to try and pacify the situation in Central African Republic.
 
“Member States of the United Nations now have the opportunity, and I firmly believe the responsibility, to prevent what has the high potential to result in widespread atrocities,” Ban said.
 
“On the basis of the options presented in this report, I call on the Council to authorize immediate and collective action to protect the civilian population from further violence and attacks,” he wrote.
 
The Security Council last month approved a proposal by Ban to send 560 military personnel to Central African Republic to guard the U.N. Integrated Peacebuilding Office, a political mission known as BINUCA.
 
France has a small force in Bangui securing the airport and its local interests. French diplomatic sources have said France would be ready to provide logistical support and increase its troop numbers to between 700 and 1,200 if needed.

You May Like

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Crowdfunding Helps Save Neil Armstrong's Spacesuit

Smithsonian turns to Kickstarter to raise more than $700,000 to help preserve the spacesuit worn by the first man to walk on the moon More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf 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.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs