July 16, 2024

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MINUSCA capacity boosted by arrival of additional Rwandan peacekeepers

The UN peacekeeping Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) welcomed 300 Rwandan peacekeepers on 3 August 2021. Deployment of the additional boots on the ground is aimed at strengthening the Mission’s capacity.

The reinforcements were authorized by UN Security Council Resolution 2566 on increasing the size of the Mission, adopted on 12 March 2021, with the aim of “enhancing MINUSCA’s ability to perform its priority mandated tasks in the current evolving context”, especially the protection of civilians and easing humanitarian access.

Determining that the situation in the Central African Republic continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region, the Security Council voted to increase the size of the Mission’s military component by 2,750 and its police component by 940 peacekeepers.

On hand to welcome the new blue helmets at Bangui M’Poko Airport were the MINUSCA Force Commander Lieutenant General Daniel Sidiki Traoré and the Director of Mission Support Emmanuel Agawu as well as the Chief of Defence Staff of the Central African Armed Forces (FACA), Major General Mamadou Zéphirin.

General Traoré noted that the Mission’s success required “determined, motivated troops” while evoking the unrest that gripped the country late last year when a coalition of armed groups attempted to destabilize the Central African Republic. Their blockade of the country’s main economic line – the Bangui-Garoua-Boulai corridor – had serious consequences for the country’s economy. The additional troops will be tasked with securing this main supply route, among others.

“The securing of this axis is essential for the economy of this country, and subsequently for peace and stability. By securing it, you will contribute to the well-being of the Central African people,” said General Traore.

The FACA Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Zéphirin, emphasized the importance of cooperation between the national forces and MINUSCA peacekeepers, describing the Central African and Rwandan forces as “brothers in arms”.

For his part, Rwanda Contingent Commander Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Gasana Rugomba cited his troops’ previous UN peacekeeping experience from Juba and Darfur in his introductory speech: “This contingent is battle tested. We are ready to give our all for this country’s security under the Mission’s leadership.”

Force Commander Sidiki Traoré urged the new arrivals to march in the footsteps of their counterparts who have distinguished themselves by their commitment and remarkable professionalism. He further called on the peacekeepers to “defend the principles and ideals of the United Nations so that peace and stability may return to this country”.

It is hoped that the additional troops will boost MINUSCA’s capacity to prevent the deterioration of the security situation in the Central African Republic and create space for the political process to move forward.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in The Central African Republic (MINUSCA).

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