News / Africa

UN Seeks Funds for African Force in Central African Republic

French peacekeeping soldiers advance in armored vehicles in Miskine district, a neighborhood that in the past few days experienced violent sectarian clashes, in the capital Bangui, Central African Republic, Jan. 30, 2014.
French peacekeeping soldiers advance in armored vehicles in Miskine district, a neighborhood that in the past few days experienced violent sectarian clashes, in the capital Bangui, Central African Republic, Jan. 30, 2014.
Reuters
The United Nations is asking donors for more money to fund African Union peacekeepers trying end inter-communal violence in the Central African Republic, a U.N. official said on Friday.

Almost a million people, a quarter of the population, have been displaced by fighting since the mostly Muslim Seleka rebel group seized power in March in the majority Christian country. At least 2,000 people are estimated to have been killed.

“It is a critical situation, we have seen massive violations of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law,” U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson told Reuters, speaking on the sidelines of an African Union summit.

The United Nations has warned the conflict in the landlocked former French colony risks spiraling into genocide.

Eliasson said the priority was to support the African force, known as MISCA, adding that a trust fund set up to finance it had “only slightly over $5 million”. He said he had no set target for a meeting of donors in Addis Ababa on Saturday.

MISCA has more than 5,000 soldiers in the Central African Republic, where a 1,600-strong French force is also deployed.

The European Union, which has promised to send 500 soldiers, said on Friday it was ready to put 25 million euros ($34 million) into the MISCA fund and provide another 20 million euros for the country's electoral process.

EU development commissioner Andris Piebalgs said the extra money would bring total EU commitments to the Central African Republic since the crisis began to about 200 million euros.

'Tough sell'

MISCA aims to raise the number of troops deployed by March to about 6,000, an African official said, the current ceiling for the force, although France has said more are needed.

Eliasson said the number of peacekeepers needed would depend on political progress, helped on this month when a transitional assembly elected interim President Catherine Samba-Panza.

“This situation cannot be solved only by a military or peacekeeping operation,” Eliasson said.

He said fund-raising was hard given a host of demands on donors, including the latest $6 billion U.N. appeal for Syria.

African Union director of peace and security El Ghassim Wane said MISCA had 5,300 troops on the ground and expected 700 from the Democratic Republic of Congo for a total of 6,000. Rwanda, Burundi, Chad, Cameroon and others have already sent troops.

“I can assure you that by the end of the program in March we will have all troops on the ground,” Wane told Reuters.

France has called for a U.N. peacekeeping force. Its U.N. Ambassador Gerard Araud said transforming the African Union force into a U.N. operation would bring guaranteed funding.

The World Food Program, a U.N. agency which has provided food aid to 220,000 people displaced by the crisis since the start of the year, also appealed for more money on Friday.

“WFP urgently needs $95 million to immediately distribute life-saving food assistance and to pre-position food stocks before the rains start in April and roads become impassable,” it said in a statement.

($1 = 0.7373 euros)

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

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