EU to help CAR military

2015-03-16 20:25
Ex-Seleka rebels drive in a truck in Bangui in CAR. (Fred Dufour, AFP)

Ex-Seleka rebels drive in a truck in Bangui in CAR. (Fred Dufour, AFP)

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Brussels - EU foreign ministers on Monday gave the final go-ahead for a mission to help with military reform in the Central African Republic, which has sought to contain clashes between its Muslim and Christian communities.

The country saw sectarian violence after Muslim Seleka rebels overthrew then-president Francois Bozize, a Christian, in March 2013. Thousands of people were killed and about a million were displaced in the conflict.

Last year, the European Union dispatched soldiers to help maintain the peace alongside UN, African Union and French forces. That mission wrapped up on Sunday, handing over responsibility for security operations to the United Nations.

"EU experts will now support preparations for security sector reform," the bloc's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement.

"This will help the Central Africa Republic turn the corner after this security crisis."

The EU military advisory mission, codenamed EUMAM RCA, will advise authorities on the "reforms necessary to transform the CAR armed forces into a professional, democratically controlled and ethnically representative army," the statement said.

European experts will work in the country's Defence Ministry and with the General Staff to advise on how to manage the military forces and to prepare for wide-ranging reforms.

They will also offer advice on an army training programme.

EUMAM RCA could also carry out "limited non-operational training" to pave the way for the upcoming reforms, the bloc's foreign ministers said, while adding that they would first have to approve such a step.

The European mission, led by French Brigadier General Dominique Laugel, will work alongside United Nations forces who have also been tasked with security sector reform.

EUMAM RCA will consist of up to 60 staff, and is expected to cost around €7.9m for a year.

The EU has also committed more than €360m in humanitarian aid since 2013 to respond to the crisis in CAR, according to the statement.

Read more on:    seleka  |  eu  |  central africa republic  |  central africa

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