Lawlessness engulfs CAR
Concerned with the cycle of violence engulfing the Central African Republic, the United States of America today announced that it plans to provide $40 million in assistance to MISCA, the African Union-led peacekeeping mission in the CAR.
In his remarks in Washington DC, US Secretary of State John Kerry expressed deep concerned by the ongoing crisis in the Central African Republic and the deplorable levels of violence and lawlessness that affect millions of people every day.
He noted that the African country has no capacity nor political will to end the violence.
Providing assistance to civilians
Knowing that civilians are vulnerable to violence, Secretary Kerry announced that pending notification to the United States Congress, the Department of State plans to provide $40 million in assistance to MISCA, the African Union-led peacekeeping mission in the CAR, to help protect civilians and provide security throughout the country.
“This assistance may provide logistical backing, non-lethal equipment, training, and planning support.” – Secretary Kerry
The US believes that MISCA is the best mechanism to help quickly address the ongoing violence in the CAR and prevent further atrocities.
Secretary Kerry noted that MISCA is also in the best position to help establish an environment that allows for the provision of humanitarian assistance and an eventual political transition to a democratically elected government.
cycle of retaliatory abuses against civilian
According to Secretary Kerry, a militia groups named the Seleka rebels are now organizing themselves and engaging in a cycle of retaliatory abuses against civilians. The group is a rebel alliance that are affiliated with the government.
Currently, there are nearly 400,000 internally displaced persons and over 220,000 CAR refugees in neighboring countries, including approximately 68,000 new refugees who have fled in recent months.
In 2012, the U.S. government has provided more than $24 million in humanitarian assistance to support programs that provide food, health services, and other aid in the CAR.
“We have also provided an additional $6 million in humanitarian assistance to specifically support new Central African refugees.” – Secretary Kerry
Calling for international support
The US is urging the region and the international community to support and fully deploy MISCA in order to restore security in the country.
The US pledges to ontinue to work with others in the region and the international community to implement a credible political transition and assist the people of the CAR who have suffered so greatly in this conflict.
Seleka rebels gain momentum in CAR
In December 2012, due to concerns about the security of US personnel, the US State Department temporarily suspended its operations in the Central African Republic.
Reports says Seleka rebels have taken several key towns and cities, including the diamond centre of Bria.
US States Department ordered its diplomatic team to evacuate as rebels continue to advance and violence may escalate.
U.S. ambassador and its diplomatic staff have reportedly flown out of Bangui and headed to Kenya.
US Ambassador Wohlers and his diplomatic team left Bangui along with several private U.S. citizens.
The United States has encouraged all parties in the Central African Republic to participate in the dialogue to be held under the auspices of the Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC) to develop a comprehensive agreement that will offer a new vision of peace and security for the country.
Earlier in December 2012, towns were attacked by the ‘Seleka’ coalition of armed groups and CAR lost the town of Kaga Bandoro to northern rebels.
The Seleka rebel coalition has reportedly gained momentum in its advances and attacks.
In addition, the UN has reported that another extremist group called Lord’s Resistance Army has also increased its attack in central Africa, leading to the displacement of thousands of people.
Attacks have taken place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Central African Republic (CAR) and South Sudan.
According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) 13 attacks in the DRC were recorded which resulted in two killings and 13 abductions, and the displacement of 1,230 people mostly from the Dungu territory in the country’s north-east.
In CAR, LRA attacks have resumed after a lull since April 2011 with 11 attacks recorded this year.
In addition, the LRA has also conducted attacks in South Sudan, which last year led to 7,382 people fleeing their homes.
LRA-related violence is seriously hampering humanitarian work in the province. According to UN data some 2,000 people have been killed and 2,500 abducted, including 892 children, in attacks against civilians in villages and towns across the Orientale province since December 2007.
The LRA was formed in the 1980s in Uganda and for over 15 years its attacks were mainly directed against Ugandan civilians and security forces, which in 2002 dislodged the rebels.