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

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

1 Billion People Used Facebook on Single Day

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg praised the accomplishment in a posting on the social media site More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
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 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 Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs