The United Nations Security Council has extended by one year the mandate of international peacekeeping troops in the war torn Central African Republic.
The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Central African Republic’s (Minusca) saw its mandate extended to November 15, 2019 on December 14, 2018.
The Council in New York decided to maintain Minusca’s current troop of 11,650 military personnel for civilian protection, adopting resolution 2448 (2018) by a vote of 13 in favour, none against, with abstentions from China and Russia.
Kacou Houadja Léon Adom, Côte d’Ivoire’s permanent representative to the UN who is the Council president for December 2018, expressed regret at the lack of consensus on the resolution.
He said the renewal will allow Minusca to better support humanitarian access and civilian protection as the interests of the Central African Republic’s people should be the sole guide of decisions about the country.
Russia argued that penholders seemed to approach African countries as exclusive turf and that the text ignored role of Russian instructors in training the military.
China asserted that the interests of CAR stakeholders were not adequately reflected in the text.
The renewal comes after the November 15, brutal attack on displaced persons camp in Alindao town in Basse-Kotto region that saw questions raised about the capacity of the peacekeepers.
According to the report, UN peacekeepers did not engage the Union for Peace in Central African Republic (Union pour la Paix en Centrafrique) attackers at Alindao, but instead retreated in an armoured vehicle to their central base, leaving thousands of civilians unprotected.
There have been calls for an immediate impartial inquiry on whether Minusca failed protect more than 18,000 people residing at the site.
The Council tasked the Minusca with enforcing the peace in order to support creation of political, security and institutional conditions conducive to reducing the presence of armed groups.
It called on the national authorities to prioritise an inclusive dialogue with armed groups, extend state authority, reform the security sector and combat impunity.
The Council decided that Minusca will reinforce its role in the peace process through participation of a special representative as a full member of Panel of Facilitators and mediation support.
These preparations should advance inclusive electoral process leading up to elections in 2020 and 2021, as initially planned.
CAR’s representative Ambroisine Kpongo said the situation on the ground is volatile as civilians are caught in the middle of as clashes between ex-Séléka and anti-Balaka groups continue.
She said there was a need for sustained and strategic military pressure on the combatants to stop the violence from spreading.
London-based Amnesty International, in report presented to Minusca, wants investigations into peacekeepers’ response to a recent attack that killed as many as 100 civilians inside a camp for displaced persons in CAR.