Pakistan to join UN mission for Central Africa
Bangui ( DIPLOMAT) A UN peacekeeping force for Central African Republic will begin deploying in two months, with some 2,500 troops joining African and French forces, UN and French officials said Wednesday.
Bangladesh, Pakistan and Morocco have agreed to contribute three battalions to the new UN force, said France’s UN Ambassador Gerard Araud.
Indonesia and Cambodia are sending engineers, while Sri Lanka will provide helicopters for much-needed patrols in rural areas.
The first contingents will begin arriving around September 15 and will beef up the 6,000 African troops serving in the African Union’s MISCA force.
The head of UN peacekeeping operations, Herve Ladsous, said the new UN force will work to strengthen security at a “significantly superior” level than the current MISCA operation.
“I believe it will contribute in a powerful way to strengthen security, ” said Ladsous after briefing the UN Security Council on the mission.
One of Africa’s poorest countries, CAR has been in crisis since the mainly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power in a March 2013 coup.
The country has been engulfed in sectarian violence, driving more than one million people from their homes.
Ladsous said the UN is hoping for more contributions for a total of 10,000 troops, but added this “will not happen overnight.”
An additional 2,000 police are to join in the mission, with Senegal and Rwanda pledging to take part.
The French ambassador said the UN troops will have to carry out patrols and “show the flag” to assert their peacekeeping role.
Preparations to deploy the new UN mission come as key players in the conflict are to meet in Brazzaville on July 21 for reconciliation talks.