Central African Republic (MINUSCA)

Currently in the Central African Republic

Military Personnel

9,110

Police Officers

1,552

Military Observers

144

Mission Mandate

In December 2013, the UN Security Council (UNSC) authorized MISCA, an African Union-led peacekeeping force, to deploy to the Central African Republic (CAR). In April 2014, a larger UN peacekeeping force MINUSCA took over the mission. MINUSCA’s aim is to protect civilians, prevent violence, and support the country’s fragile transitional government. Recent outbreaks of violence in late 2015 has underscored the importance of having peacekeepers on the ground in the Central African Republic.

Background

Moroccan peacekeepers serving with the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) in Bangui are deployed to Bambari on 15 June 2014. Fighting broke out in CAR when the mainly Muslim Seleka alliance seized power in a coup in March 2013. UN agencies estimate that 2 million people, almost half of the population, are in need of assistance. The Security Council voted on 10 April 2014 to send 12,000 peacekeepers to help return order to CAR. UN Photo/Catianne Tijerina

CAR is one of the world’s most fragile states.  While security conditions have never been optimal, they significantly deteriorated in March 2013, when a loosely-organized coalition of armed groups known as Seleka, formed by members of the Muslim community from northeastern CAR, overthrew then-President Francoise Bozize.  Following Bozize’s ouster, Seleka carried out killings and other abuses against the majority Christian population. In retaliation, Christian-led militias known as Anti-Balaka (anti-machete) rose up throughout the country, attacking Muslim communities and causing a mass exodus of Muslim civilians into neighboring countries.  At the height of violence in early 2014, nearly one million people were displaced, over half of whom were children.  At the time, UN officials warned that the situation could devolve into genocide.

We’re giving peacekeepers broad and increasingly demanding responsibilities in increasingly inhospitable domains…  We’re asking them to protect civilians from atrocities, as in the Central African Republic.” – Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, March 2015

A ceasefire between Seleka and Anti-Balaka forces was reached in July 2014, but did not bring an end to the crisis. A constitutional referendum and elections were postponed on several occasions due to security concerns. In February 2016, CAR ended its two-year political transition with the adoption of a new constitution, and the successful holding of presidential and legislative elections.

While the year began on a positive note with the successful holding of elections, the security situation remains quite fragile, and violence broke out in Bangui and several rural communities in late June and July of 2016.  In response to these events, the Security Council unanimously voted to extend the MINUSCA mandate until November 15, 2017.

How This Affects U.S. Interests