Congolese peacekeepers to be withdrawn from CAR

UN says around 800 Congolese peacekeepers will be withdrawn from Central African Republic

Photo by: UN
Photo by: UN

A view of the official hand-over ceremony transitioning peacekeeping responsibilities in the Central African Republic from MISCA to MINUSCA

Spokesman for the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), Vladimir Monteiro, said around 800 Congolese UN peacekeepers will be withdrawn from the country after a failed internal assessment on Saturday.

"It is confirmed that the Congolese unit will withdraw from MINUSCA," said Monteiro, adding "The contingent will leave and not be replaced."

The Central African Republic (CAR) has been facing a civil war since December 2012.

Rebel coalition called Seleka (meaning “Union”), mainly made up of Muslims carried out a coup against government on March 2013 and overthrew President Francois Bozize who has been highly criticised for corruption and human rights abuses.

After Seleka came to power and took control of the country, a militia group called Anti-Balaka started fighting against Seleka and carried out large scale attacks against Muslims in the CAR.

Since then, militias drawn from the Christian majority have launched reprisal attacks in which thousands of people have been killed and around a million others displaced despite efforts by UN and French peacekeepers to restore order.

Monteiro refrained to give further information when asked about whether the withdrawal could jeopardise the country’s security, saying that an announcement would be made next week.

On the other hand, three Congolese UN peacekeepers are facing allegations of sex abuse, as they are accused of raping three women in August.

Congolese Justice Minister Alexis Thambwe said at the time that the allegations would be investigated.

It was not immediately clear whether such allegations were the main factor behind the decision to withdraw Congolese troops. A UN spokesperson in New York earlier said that the UN review of Congolese troops assessed the equipment, the vetting procedures and overall preparedness of the contingent.

The UN announced this month that it was investigating new allegations of sex abuse by peacekeepers.

Officially, 809 troops and 123 Congolese police are deployed in CAR, among 11,000 troops, which is known as MINUSCA.

France, which CAR was former colony of plans to withdraw about 2,000 troops from the country.

TRTWorld and agencies