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UN Calls For More Troops In CAR As More National Soldiers Run Awol

The Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General to the Central African Republic has called for the augmentation of the number of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) soldiers in the country.

Mankeur Ndiaye on Thursday told the United Nations Security Council that the increase in UN troops in the Central African Republic was necessary because of the increasing number of deserters from the Central African national army popularly known by its French acronym FACA.

“The Central African national army soldiers are young and not experienced enough. They suffer from a weak command chain and lack of sanctions. They do not hesitate to run away from combat, ” Ndiaye revealed.

According to sources in the national army, only about 300 FACA soldiers have gone awol (absent without leave) so far but the reality on the ground is quite different.

“Since the announcement of the offensive by rebels of the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) just before the legislative and presidential elections of Dec.  27, 2020, there has been ‘big confusion and desertion’ by FACA soldiers and this has greatly affected the morale of the soldiers still within the ranks,” a senior FACA official told HumAngle on Friday on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the issue.

“Many rank and file FACA soldiers run away from the front and seek refuge in MINUSCA camps even before the arrival of rebel combatants,” the source revealed.

Diplomats in the office of the UN Secretary General Representative in Bangui suggest an augmentation by 3,000 soldiers.

Ndiaye insists on the maintenance of President Faustin Archange Touadera in power, adding that the augmentation of the number of MINUSCA soldiers would help maintain institutional stability in the Central African Republic.

Beside MINUSCA forces that have been fighting alongside FACA forces, Touadera had asked for and received reinforcements from Russian and Rwandan mercenaries within the auspices of military cooperation between the Central African Republic and the two countries.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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