United Na­tions seeks sol­diers for Africa se­cu­rity

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL -

BANGUI, Central African Repub­lic — The United Na­tions peace­keep­ing mis­sion in Central African Repub­lic is re­quest­ing about 750 more troops to help fill a “se­cu­rity vac­uum” wors­ened by the with­drawal of U.S. spe­cial forces as vi­o­lence surges again, ac­cord­ing to a con­fi­den­tial ca­ble ob­tained by The As­so­ci­ated Press.

The ad­di­tional troops are needed in the south­east after the with­drawal this year of U.S. and Ugan­dan troops hunt­ing the Lord’s Re­sis­tance Army rebels, ac­cord­ing to the mes­sage from mis­sion head Par­fait Onanga-Anyanga to the U.N.’s head of peace­keep­ing op­er­a­tions in New York.

Hun­dreds of people have been killed since May, and more than half a mil­lion people have been dis­placed as largely sec­tar­ian vi­o­lence moves into parts of Central African Repub­lic that were spared the worst of the fight­ing that be­gan in 2013. In­ter­na­tional ob­servers warn that the coun­try is ap­proach­ing the lev­els of vi­o­lence seen at the height of the con­flict in 2014.

U.N. Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral An­to­nio Guter­res on Wed­nes­day said he wanted to “shine a spot­light on an un­der-re­ported emer­gency” in Central African Repub­lic, which has seen a 37 per­cent in­crease in refugees and dis­placed people in the past three months.

Rebel groups con­trol an es­ti­mated 70 per­cent of the coun­try, ac­cord­ing to in­ter­na­tional hu­man rights or­ga­ni­za­tions. The U.N. mis­sion has ac­knowl­edged that its au­tho­rized force of 10,750 mil­i­tary per­son­nel and 2,080 po­lice is not enough in the coun­try roughly the size of Texas.

The re­quest for more troops would in­crease the to­tal of uni­formed peace­keep­ers to about 13,500.

“It’s pretty clear that the mis­sion, with its cur­rent ca­pac­ity, is over­stretched,” said Hu­man Rights Watch re­searcher Lewis Mudge. “They sim­ply don’t have the means to ad­dress the in­creased at­tacks on civil­ians.”

The fight­ing is mostly be­tween pre­dom­i­nantly Mus­lim ex-Seleka rebels and ma­jor­ity Chris­tian anti-Balaka fight­ers over re­sources and trade routes in the coun­try­side.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.