UN seeks more peacekeepers for CAR

The United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic (CAR) is requesting about 750 more troops to help fill a “security vacuum” worsened by the withdrawal of US special forces as violence surges again, according to a confidential cable obtained by The Associated Press.
The additional troops are needed in the southeast after the withdrawal this year of US and Ugandan troops hunting the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels, according to the message from mission head Parfait Onanga-Anyanga to the UN’s head of peacekeeping operations in New York.
The request for more troops would increase the total of uniformed peacekeepers to about 13,500.
“It’s pretty clear that the mission, with its current capacity, is overstretched,” said Human Rights Watch (HRW) researcher Lewis Mudge.
“They simply don’t have the means to address the increased attacks on civilians.”
The fighting is mostly between predominantly Muslim ex-Seleka rebels and majority Christian anti-Balaka fighters over resources and trade routes in the countryside.
In his cable, Onanga-Anyanga wrote that “new actors are emerging to fill the security vacuum (in the southeast), creating upheaval in a once relatively calm region.” Those include offshoots of the ex-Seleka and anti-Balaka fighters.
The UN peacekeeping mission needs an “urgent increase in military capabilities given the deteriorating security situation and escalating violence against civilians, humanitarians and peacekeepers,” said Evan Cinq-Mars, the UN advocate and policy adviser at the non-profit Center for Civilians in Conflict.

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