CAR issues 15-day state of emergency
As a coalition of armed groups seeks to overthrow re-elected President Faustin Archange Touadéra, the Central African Republic has declared a 15-day state of emergency throughout the country.
According to Africanews, Albert Yaloké Mokpeme, the spokesman for the CAR presidency, made the announcement on national radio on Thursday.
He said the country-wide state of emergency was applicable for a period of 15 days from midnight on 21 January to 4 February.
The measure comes in the form of an alliance of six armed groups that carried out sporadic attacks in towns far from the capital and on the RN3 highway, a key supply line connecting Bangui and neighboring Cameroon.
In a contentious vote on December 27, 2020, President Archange Touadera was re-elected and was repelled by the opposition and several armed groups.
Militias claiming to be ethnic or other groups control two-thirds of the territory of the CAR, raising questions about the control of the vast mineral-rich central African country by the government.
Mankeur Ndiaye, the UN envoy to the Central African Republic, called on the Security Council on Thursday for a “substantial increase” in the number of peacekeepers deployed in the country following recent deadly attacks by armed groups.
“greater mobility” in a very large country must accompany the increase, the UN representative added. Since December, Ndiaye has also deplored what he has called a “huge desertion” of Central African security forces, which requires reforms.
‘There must be a strategy to adjust the mandate,’ he insisted, following a request from Bangui, during a video conference of the Council organized by African members of this body.
Mr. Ndiaye did not specify the number of additional peacekeepers required for the MINUSCA mission, which is one of the largest and most costly UN operations in the world and already has nearly 12,000 troops.
As a rebel coalition calling for the resignation of the president launches attacks, at least 100,000 people have fled their homes in the country.
However, although a combined operation of UN peacekeepers and government soldiers has foiled most of the attacks, there have been a few blue helmet casualties.
Two years of relative peace in a country wracked by a brutal five-year civil war that began in 2013 have now threatened the situation.
In the Central African Republic, the security forces are mainly trained by the European Union and by Russian instructors.