from OMAN MBIKO in Bangui, Central African Republic
BANGUI, (CAJ News) – THE development of the security situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) during the past year has been closely monitored by the local and international experts.
The break out of violence and aggression on the part of terrorist groups just before the election in December 2020 was met with an adequate answer from the national army and their allies, which led to prevention of large scale crisis and subsequent reclaiming of the territories.
The situation in Sahel region in general and in Mali in particular was in the focus of the international attention for a while as well.
The recent chaotic withdrawal of the operation Barkhane forces and the stepping up the anti-terrorist activities by the Malian army inspired by the new government hit the headlines.
UN Independent experts also keep a close eye on the evolving situations in West and Central Africa, as the security situation there has is of uttermost importance for the stability both of the continent, and the world.
The most recent comments come from Yao Agbetse, UN Independent Expert on Human Rights, who spent a week in the Central African Republic from 11 February 2022.
Mr. Agbetse points out that “United Nations has closely followed developments in the Central African Republic while the international community has become increasingly alarmed by the violence and chaos that transnational terrorists as well as local criminal and extremist groups have fomented there”.
It is worth mentioning that Yao Agbetse had assessed security situation in the Central African Republic back in 2021 when the local population was experiencing sporadic attacks from the terrorists and armed groups.
Speaking about the current situation, UN expert notes that the situation with human rights and the protection of civilians in the country has greatly improved.
A consistent policy to provide security and restore the economy, and effective steps to confront extremist violence were cited by the expert as key actions of the current President of the CAR that have led to the amelioration of the situation.
He also praised the help of the international partners of the Republic in its action against terrorism and banditry and remarkable success of the well-trained national defense forces, who effectively deal with fragmented gangs and separate criminal groups that left of former major illegal armed groups.
The opinion of a different expert on a different African mirrors the words of Yao Agbetse. The UN independent expert on the situation of Human Rights in Mali, Alioune Tine, at the end of his visit to Mali since February 8, expressed his satisfaction with the improvement of the country’s security situation, that of human rights and displaced people.
Alioune Tine points put that since his last visit in 2018, despite the growing tensions between the Interim Government of Mali and France, the situation is changing for the better.
Even though France suspended joint military operations with Mali in June 2021 and left Mali without external support during the security crisis, the Malian Government has made progress in the fight against the terrorist group, making it possible for the number of human rights violations to decrease.
According to the UN Independent Expert on the human rights situation in Mali, the interim president of the country, Colonel Assimi Goita, has showed resilience in the face of security problems, which ensured him the respect of the people.
His tough approach, as well as his determination to put an end to violence, are the qualities of an effective leader that the country needs in the face of current difficulties. The Colonel Assimi Goita approach proved to be more efficient than the western modus operandi.
Both experts, Yao Agbetse and Alioune Tine applauded the national defense forces of the CAR and Mal for showing professionalism and bravery in the face of terrorist threat. They were able to resolve longstanding conflicts without the help of either the UN or the former colonial power.
The experts could not fail to notice that the local populations have more confidence and trust with their national armies and new partners, like Russian, than with the so-called traditional partners embodied in the UN and France.
As Yao Agbetse noted “local people, unfortunately, often have grievances against MINUSCA”, which in his eyes is a serious reason to reconsider the mandate of the mission so that “the United Nations forces deployed in the country will act in a more organized and effective manner to deal with illegal armed groups and restore peace in the Republic.”
Indeed, there still in room for improvement. Thus Yao Agbetse mentions propaganda campaigns by biased media, that spreads false information aimed to discriminate Russian instructors training the national forces of the CAR. While no human rights violations by Russians have been unequivocally confirmed, the news agency Agence France Press published an article that cited “anonymous and confidential sources in the UN and FACA” arguing that the operation against the UPC “involving Russians” had killed 30 civilians.
The report was republished verbatim by other French media, including such large platforms as Mediapart, Ouest-France, RFI, la Сroix. The information of the report has not been confirmed, as well as other allegations concerning violations by Russian instructors.
In this light Yao Agbetse has appealed to political actors, including parties and the mass media to refrain from the rhetoric of hate, incitement to violence, manipulation and spread of fake information, which is necessary to ensure the return to peace and the rule of law in the Republic.
These statements can be applied to the general situation in francophone Africa. Now, when the examples of Mali and the Central African Republic have shown that it is possible to form a combat-ready national army within short timeframes capable of protecting the civilian population, other African states are inspired to stand up to the enemies of peace.
– CAJ News