UN takes on CAR peace role

2014-09-15 22:03
People walk on a road lit by AU-led Misca vehicles during an operation in the CARs’ capital, Bangui. (Fred Dufour , AFP)

People walk on a road lit by AU-led Misca vehicles during an operation in the CARs’ capital, Bangui. (Fred Dufour , AFP)

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Bangui - The United Nations on Monday took over peacekeeping operations in the war-torn Central African Republic, where thousands have been killed in more than 18 months of sectarian violence.

An initial team of 7 600 UN soldiers and police succeeded about 6 500 African Union-led peacekeepers during a ceremony at M'Poko airport in the capital, Bangui.

The UN force will eventually number 12 000 troops and is tasked with restoring peace and order in the country torn by conflict between Muslim Seleka rebels and Christian anti-Balaka militia, said the UN secretary general's special representative in the Central African Republic, Babacar Gaye.

Close to 6 000 African blue helmets are expected to be integrated into the UN force, which will receive continued support from the 2 000 French and 800 European forces currently deployed in the former French colony.

"We hope the troops will act with force and uproot the belligerent Seleka and anti-Balaka fighters and other harmful groups," a student in Bangui said on the condition of anonymity.

Violence has not abated in the Central African Republic even though President Catherine Samba-Panza appointed a senior Seleka leader, Mahamat Kamoun, as the country's prime minister in August.

Samba-Panza, a Christian, appointed Kamoun, a Muslim, to try to create a more inclusive government.

Their country has suffered sectarian violence since Seleka overthrew president Francois Bozize, a Christian, in March 2013.

Read more on:    un  |  central african republic  |  central africa

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