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Militant groups to pounce on defenceless CAR

Story from: CAJ News Africa

CAR rebellionFrom JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
KINSHASA, (CAJ News) – IT is feared rebel groups are lining up to
capitalise on the withdrawal of international troops to further
destabilise the crisis-torn Central African Republic (CAR).
The anxiety comes as the Ugandan and South Sudanese troops as well as
United States special forces are disengaging from the African Union
Regional Task Force serving in CAR.
François Louncény Fall, Special Representative and Head of the United
Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), said the subsequent
threat posed by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and like-minded rebel
forces to stability should not be underestimated.
“I am concerned about the impact of this withdrawal as it will create a
security vacuum that may be exploited by the LRA and other armed groups
operating in the region,” the envoy said.
He bemoaned that CAR’s national security services, which could fill the
gap left by the disengaging forces in the long run, still needed training and structural reform.
Of greater worry is that the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the CAR has no mandate to conduct anti‑LRA operations.
Hence, Fall said, there was need to remain collectively focused on efforts to ensure the LRA’s total eradication.
The envoy assured UNOCA would remain engaged, including by reviewing the United Nations regional strategy for addressing the LRA threat and
ensuring coordination among various relevant stakeholders.
Clashes between armed groups plunged the country of 4,5 million people
into civil conflict in 2013. Half of the population is in dire need of
humanitarian assistance.
At least 220 civilians as well as eight peacekeepers have been killed and about 100 citizens abducted this year. Gang rapes and extrajudicial
killings are prevalent.
CAJ News

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