Voice of America (Washington, DC)

29 December 2013

Central African Republic: African Union to Sign Troop Agreement With Rwanda

The African Union (AU) plans to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Rwanda this week that will enable the government in Kigali to send troops to help with efforts to stabilize the Central African Republic (CAR), says Eloi Yao, AU spokesman.

The AU commissioner for peace and security was accompanied by officials from neighboring countries to meet with the CAR transitional government over the weekend to assess the security situation there.

Rwanda, Yao says, is expected to deploy its troops to CAR in January.

"This week, we will have the MOU between the African Union and Rwanda finalized, and hopefully by mid-January, Rwanda can deploy troops to contribute to MISCA, the [AU] mission to Central African Republic," said Yao.

Some observers say hundreds of Chadians in the country fled Saturday after being accused of supporting the transitional government led by former Seleka rebel leader Michel Djotodia. Chadian soldiers who are part of the African-led force in the CAR have also been accused of supporting the transitional government and Muslim militia groups.

France has so far deployed a 1,600 peacekeeping mission to the CAR aimed at stopping massacres between Muslim and Christian militias.

But some analysts say tension remains high across the country in spite of the presence of the African-led force and French troops. Yao said the security situation appears to be calm in parts of the country including the some areas of the capital, Bangui.

"Things seem relatively calm as compared to the 25th [December] and some other days before that when there were several incidents throughout the city," said Yao. "But as of now, [the situation has improved, thanks to] the new plans that the force commander [and] the police of the MISCA forces put in place to cover the districts in Bangui and also all the affected areas."

Yao says that efforts by the African led force with support from French troops have helped reduce the spate of attacks by militia groups.

The transitional government and religious leaders have called for peace and dialogue to end the attacks on civilians by armed groups. But some observers say the call has fallen on deaf ears since the militia groups continue to curb such assaults. Yao says there is a commitment by leaders in the country to end the violence.

"The commitment was made that the determination is there and they [leaders] all have promised to work together in the interest of the country --so that there can be peace and also that can be supported by the African-led forces here," said Yao.

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