21 November 2013

Gabon: CAR - US to provide US$40m assistance to AU-led peacekeeping force

Libreville — US Secretary of State John Kerry has announced plans by his country to provide $40 million in assistance to the African Union International Support Mission in the Central African Republic (CAR), MISCA, to help protect civilians and provide security throughout the country.

In remarks made available by the US State Department, Mr. Kerry said the assistance "may provide logistical backing, non-lethal equipment, training, and planning support".

"In the immediate term, we believe that MISCA is the best mechanism to help quickly address the ongoing violence in the CAR and prevent further atrocities. 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," the US Secretary of State said.

Mr. Kerry expressed "deep concern" at the ongoing crisis in the CAR and the deplorable levels of violence and lawlessness that affect millions of people every day.

In the continuing aftermath of the March 2013 overthrow of the government by the Seleka rebel alliance, militia groups are now organizing themselves along increasingly sectarian lines and engaging in a cycle of retaliatory abuses against civilians.

The US has said it has "no evidence" that the CAR transitional government has the capacity or political will to end the violence, especially the abuses committed by elements of the Seleka rebel alliance that are affiliated with the government.

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 the past year, the U.S. government has provided more than US$24 million in humanitarian assistance to support programs that provide food, health services, and other aid in the CAR, and an additional US$6 million in humanitarian assistance to specifically support new Central African refugees.

Mr. Kerry urged the international community to support and fully deploy MISCA in order to restore security in the country.

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