African peacekeepers to train Central African police officers

African peacekeeping force MISCA plans to train over 400 Central African police officers.

African peacekeepers to train Central African police officers
World Bulletin / News Desk
 
African peacekeeping force MISCA will train hundreds of Central African police officers, with the help of the African Union (AU), the UN Development Program (UNDP) and the European Union (EU), a top MISCA official has revealed.

"We plan to train over 400 Central African police officers in four phases," Colonel Ostangue Bengone, head of MISCA's police unit, told Anadolu Agency at his office in the Mpoko military base in capital Bangui.

He did not, however, give an exact date for when the planned training would commence.

Bengone said his 600-man force was currently working with Central African police to patrol the streets of the troubled capital.

"Where there's war, we don't send the local police officers – we go there ourselves," he asserted.

Currently, there are over 600 police officers from Cameroon, Congo Brazzaville, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Chad serving under MISCA.

The police unit is tasked with protecting civilians and camps for internally displaced persons; patrolling the city; and controlling rowdy crowds.

There are currently 1,600 French and 6,000 African peacekeepers deployed in the mineral-rich, landlocked African country.

CAR descended into anarchy in March 2013 when Seleka rebels – said to be mostly Muslim – ousted Francois Bozize, a Christian, who had come to power in a 2003 coup.

In the months since, the country has been plagued by tit-for-tat sectarian violence between the anti-balaka, a Christian militia, and former seleka fighters.

Thousands of people have been killed since the conflict began.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), over 900,000 Central Africans now live in 115 makeshift sites and host communities across the country.

Almost 250,000 Central Africans have sought refuge from the violence in neighboring countries, meanwhile, mainly Cameroon and Chad.

Anti-balaka arms

Colonel Bengone said MISCA had seized weapons and ammunition during a raid earlier this week on the house of Edouard Patrick Ngaissona, leader of the Christian anti-balaka militia.

He denied claims that peacekeepers had used "brutal" force in the process.

"Our troops didn't fire teargas or bullets as alleged by the anti-balaka," the MISCA commander told AA.

He showed AA photo printouts of weapons he said had been found at Ngaissona's home.

In an earlier interview with AA inside Ngaissona's residential compound, senior anti-balaka leader Alfred Legrald Ngaya had accused peacekeepers of using teargas and live ammunition during the raid.

Ngaissona, who served as youth minister under ousted president Bozize, is now wanted by the authorities.

Muslims have been targeted with increasing frequency since January, when Catherine Samba-Panza, a Christian, was elected president.

Machete-wielding Christian militiamen now roam the Bangui suburbs, often erecting illegal checkpoints in order to identify and lynch Muslims.

A number of Muslims have recently been killed in broad daylight and their bodies set on fire. Several mosques in Bangui, too, have recently been destroyed and scores of Muslim homes looted.

Christians, who account for the majority of CAR's population, accuse their Muslim compatriots of supporting the former seleka rebels.

Last Mod: 19 Şubat 2014, 14:45
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