Central African Republic: Rwanda Deploys Protection Force in Central African Republic Ahead of Polls

François Bozizé, former president of the Central African Republic (file photo).
21 December 2020

The Government of Rwanda has deployed force protection troops to the Central African Republic (CAR), under an existing bilateral agreement on defense in the country.

According to a statement from the military, "the deployment is in response to the targeting of the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) contingent under the UN Peacekeeping force by rebels supported by François Bozize."

Bozize is a former President of CAR who recently returned to his country.

On many occasions, Rwandan troops in CAR have been targeted by armed groups in this country.

"Rwandan troops will also contribute to ensure a peaceful and secure general election scheduled on Sunday 27 December 2020, twenty-two months after the peace agreement which was reached between the government and fourteen armed groups," RDF underscored in the statement.

Currently, the Rwanda Defence Force is one of the largest troop contributor to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) since 2014.

Rwanda troops are specifically charged with providing security for high-ranking government officials and securing key state installations.

A week to CAR's presidential and legislative vote, Bozize who led CAR between 2003 and 2013 has been barred from running in the election by the country's top court, as the CAR had sought him with an international arrest warrant on charges including murder, arbitrary arrest and torture.

Meanwhile, the UN mission in the CAR, MINUSCA, said on Friday that its blue helmet forces were on "maximum alert" to prevent armed groups from disrupting the elections.

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