Tomori, NCMP – In a statement from the Rwandan military seen by NCMP, the Government of Rwanda has deployed force protection troops to the Central African Republic (CAR).
According to the statement, “the deployment is in response to the targeting of the Rwanda Defense 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 Saturday, the government accused François Bozizé of marching with a rebel alliance on the capital, Bangui, a week before a general election. But spokesman Christian Guenebem said he was in his house in Bossangoa.
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.
The UN said on Friday it had deployed peacekeeping forces to the country.
President Faustin Archange Touadéra has insisted the poll will go ahead, saying the presence of the army and UN peacekeepers means people have nothing to fear.
But opposition parties, including that of Mr Bozizé, have called for the vote to be postponed “until the re-establishment of peace and security”.
Rebel groups have seized several towns close to CAR’s capital, clashing with government forces and looting property, and the UN said its troops were working to prevent a blockade of Bangui.
Mr Guenebem told AFP news agency: “We categorically deny that Bozizé is at the origin of anything.”
The CAR is one of Africa’s poorest and most unstable countries, even though it is rich in resources like diamonds and uranium. The UN estimates that half of the population are dependent on humanitarian assistance and up to a fifth have been displaced.
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.
(Reference: New Times Website and BBC Website)