UN mission chief calls for loosening of Central African arms embargo

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Abidjan – Mr Onanga Anyanga, Head of the UN peacekeeping mission (MINUSCA) in Central African Republic, has called on the Security Council to loosen arms embargo on the country and prepare for the rehabilitation of its military.

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Anyanga’s request is against the backdrop of worsening lawlessness in the capital Bangui, where militia attacks and tit-for-tat violence have killed about 90 people since September, prompting calls from politicians and civilians to rearm the military.

“The rearming of the Central African military is part of the process of security reform,” Anyanga said in a statement.

“Central African Republic needs an army that respects republican principles,” he added, without giving a time frame for rearmament.

It would be recalled that the U.N. Security Council imposed a weapons embargo on the historically unstable country in December 2013, allowing government security forces to buy arms only if a sanctions committee approves.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”70560″]

Onanga-Anyanga’s comments echoed speeches made by politicians, including from transitional President Catherine Samba-Panza, who called for the UN to restore the military’s weapons and said peacekeepers and French troops had failed to protect civilians.

In the same development, hundreds of people on Wednesday , marched through the capital to demand the army be given weapons, but Gen. Mohamed Dhaffane, the head of one militia faction, warned that the rearming the military would further undermine security.

Violence had jeopardised Pope Francis’s plans to visit the country and further delayed elections to Dec. 13 (Reuters/NAN)


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