UN proposes 12,000-strong force for C. African Republic
Published on Mar 4, 2014 6:06 AM
UNITED NATIONS, United States (AFP) - UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon recommended on Monday deploying nearly 12,000 peacekeepers in Central African Republic to re-establish order in a country that has erupted in chaos and sectarian killing.
The former French colony was thrown into turmoil after rebels from the mainly Muslim Seleka group seized power in a March 2013 coup, triggering Muslim-Christian violence that has left thousands dead and prompted fears of genocide and ethnic cleansing.
In a report to the 15 members of the UN Security Council, Mr Ban specified that the peacekeeping mission should focus, in the initial stage, on "the protection of civilians" as part of a "military surge." However, Mr Ban warned that "the scale of the needs in the CAR is daunting" and it is understood that even in the best case, UN peacekeepers couldn't be deployed for another six months because of the time required to mount such an operation.
The mandate of the proposed force would be progressively expanded to support the political transition process, in particular restoring the government's authority over the country and organizing elections.
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