UN Goes Offensive, Disperses CAR Militia
The UN has dispersed heavily armed militiamen in the remote Central African Republic town of Bambari few days after the militia attacked and wounded its peacekeepers.
A UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) carried out the air operation which dispersed the militia.
According to a statement on Monday by MINUSCA, about 40 fighters from the Popular Front for the Renaissance of Central African Republic (FPRC) armed with AK-47s and rocket propelled grenades had gathered in the town, but UN forces intervened to prevent them carrying out an attack.
MINUSCA spokesman Vladimir Monteiro said that the action was in keeping with the peacekeeping forces’ mandate to protect civilians and its aim to “prevent a war” between the militia and the rival Union for Peace in Central African Republic (UPC).
“The toll of this air operation is not yet known.
“MINUSCA warns the coalition FPRC against any attempt to bring war to Bambari,” he said.
Monteiro told Reuters in an email that the operation had “engaged one helicopter,” but gave no further details.
The FPRC and UPC are former members of the mainly Muslim Seleka rebel alliance that united to oust then-President Francois Bozize in 2013, sparking backlash from Christian “anti-balaka” militias and plunging the country into tit-for-tat ethnic and sectarian killing.
But they fell out over competition for territory and control of illicit tax revenues. The FPRC are now allied with the anti-balaka militias.
According to Human Rights Watch rebels killed at least 32 people in clashes with the FPRC in December 2016.
In January, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has launched a $400 million humanitarian response plan for Central African Republic (CAR).
The money is directed to meet the basic needs of estimated 2.2 million people in the country.
Dr Michel Yao, Acting Humanitarian Coordinator in the country, said in a statement that the UN-backed humanitarian plan aimed assist million who urgently needed humanitarian assistance.
According to him, the response plan is for a two-year period, from 2017 to 2019 and a budget of $399.5 million, would cover three strategic objectives.