The Military Army Blog

UN Mission MINUSMA – The Most Dangerous UN Mission Ever?

France recently announced it was reducing its troop numbers in the Central African Republic as it gradually hands over to a 8,500-strong United Nations (UN) peacekeeping force brought in to contain a deadly sectarian conflict. “We are going to begin a first cutback phase in the following days, going from 2,000 to 1,700 men,” French Army spokesman Gilles Jaron said.

The UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) was established by Security Council resolution 2100 of 25 April 2013 to support political processes in that country and carry out a number of security-related tasks. The Mission was asked to support the transitional authorities of Mali in the stabilisation of the country and implementation of the transitional roadmap.

France’s Operation Sangaris will be reorganised around two zones — one between the capital Bangui and the central town of Bambari and the other around Kaga Bandoro and Ndele further north — with the UN mission MINUSCA taking over almost all the responsibility in the east. France will continue to provide support to the UN as it tackles ex-Seleka extremists.
Seleka, a mainly Muslim rebel alliance, seized power in 2013, after a coup ousted president Francois Bozize and triggered a wave of deadly sectarian violence between the country’s Christian and Muslim populations. France intervened militarily in its former colony in December 2013 after receiving the green light from the UN to try and break the spiral of violence. Sangaris was joined by the MINUSCA and a European Union force of 700 troops. Together they restored stability in Bangui and some other zones, without bringing peace to the whole country. Since violent clashes in February between UN forces and the ex-Seleka rebels in the eastern mining town of Bria, “we have seen a disengagement and the more radical elements are losing ground,” the spokesperson added.
The French Armed Forces have the following kit on the ground: Several Dassault RAFALE, two Airbus Helicopter AS550 FENNEC helicopters, two A rospatiale SA340 GAZELLE helicopters, and four SA330 PUMA helicopters. Furthermore the following regiments have been deployed: 25th Air Engineering Regiment, 8th Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment, 21st Marine Infantry Regiment, 3rd Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment, 6th Marine Infantry Battalion, 1st Parachute Hussar Regiment, 1st Parachute Chasseur Regiment, French Gendarmerie nationale, Peloton de l’escadron de gendarmerie mobile 14/1 de Satory, elements of the GIGN, and reinforcements from the gendarmerie nationale and the 152nd Infantry Regiment since April 2014.
On 22 August, UN Mission MINUSMA said two UN peacekeepers were seriously injured when their vehicle hit a mine or IED on the Asongo – Menaki axis, 70km east from Asongo. Al Qaeda continues to operate in Mali despite a French-led counterterrorism mission in the region. The jihadist group and its many affiliates in the country retain the ability to mount rocket, mortar, and IED attacks on UN and French forces. Over 50 UN peacekeepers have been killed in Mali since 2013, making it the most dangerous UN mission in the world. Almost three years after the launch of Operation “Sangaris” to protect the Central African Republic s population, France remains mobilised on the political and Armyrats © military fronts, as well as with respect to providing humanitarian assistance and developing cooperative initiatives, in close collaboration with the EU, the UN and all our international partners. French troops were also joined by the European Operation EUFOR-RCA in May 2015. There are still some problems, but the number of displaced persons is steadily declining, and the local economy is recovering. On the political front, instability has been replaced by a more peaceful transition, the successful conclusion of which should be marked by the forthcoming elections. However, humanitarian needs are still considerable in the Central African Republic as well as in neighboring countries, where there are hundreds of thousands of refugees. The peace deal in Mali is not dead yet. It has suffered blows, but there appears to be a commitment to the peace deal and its implementation by key actors. Ultimately, much of the fighting taking place today in Mali, is not directly linked to the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA) or Tuareg claims; instead, it s the product of years of insecurity which has lead to the proliferation of diverse armed groups, each with their own motivations, and who do not care to submit to the rigors of an international peace deal if it doesn t benefit them in a direct manner. The peace deal can survive, but it will take perseverance, flexibility and openness from the various actors.

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