African Press Association

Peacekeepers accused of arming CAR rebel groups

UN peacekeeping security forces in CAR

KINSHASA – THE beleaguered United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic (CAR) is caught in more controversy amid allegations it provides weapons and ammunition to armed groups.

An online publication has carried the damning allegations, accusing some troops of supplying the rebels led by one General Bahar, a feared warlord who leads Muslim militants.

It is alleged the rebels have received supplies in the northwestern Paoua, which borders Cameroon and Chad. It is one of many towns controlled by the radicals.

The 10 000-strong UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the CAR (MINUSCA), rejected the allegations.

“MINUSCA unambiguously asserts that it does not have and has never provided weapons, ammunition or other military equipment to General Bahar or a group affiliated with him,” the mission stated.

It condemned the publication of the “baseless assertions” and underlined the serious consequences that the allegations generated for its peacekeepers serving in the ungovernable country.

“Dissemination of this inflammatory misinformation negatively affects the presence of MINUSCA staff in the communities it serves, compromising their security and hindering their ability to protect and assist vulnerable populations.”

MINUSCA said contrary to journalistic ethics, it was not offered the opportunity to respond.

Rights groups have previously exposed rape and sexual violations by UN peacekeepers since deployment in 2014.

The UN has come under criticism for failure to prosecute culprits.

Secretary General, António Guterres, has made combating sexual abuse by peacekeepers a priority since taking over from Ban Ki-moon in 2017.

– APA / CAJ News