Rwanda is among countries with military and police forces in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA). On Thursday last week, Rwanda deployed 300 peacekeepers to reinforce security during elections that took place on Sunday 27th December 2020.
They were additional to force protection troops that the Government of Rwanda deployed to CAR one week ahead of polls under an existing bilateral agreement on defense.
They were sent after President Faustin-Archange Touadéra accused former president of the country, François Bozize of planning a coup-plot to dethrone the Government in collaboration with armed rebels. Tensions rose after Mr Bozizé’s candidacy for this week’s national elections was rejected by the country’s highest court.
President Touadéra sought support from partner countries including Rwanda which deployed more troops with the mandate to reinforce electoral security and protect existing troops.
Speaking to the media after elections yesterday, Touadéra thanked Rwanda and President Paul Kagame for contribution to restore peace in the country.
“"I thank President Paul Kagame, Government of Rwanda, and Rwandans for their support to secure electoral process which allows nationals to freely choose their leaders. Many thanks for the great support," he said.
On Election Day, Rwandan troops were deployed on different streets and polling stations in Bangui (capital city of CAR) standby to protect voters against security disruptions.
It has however been reported that said, rebels opened gunfire in some areas trying to scare away voters. There are concerns that a substantial number of the 1.8 million registered voters in the country were not be able to vote in remote towns, some controlled by armed rebels.
After a slow start and sporadic gunfire in some towns, the head of the U.N. mission in the country, Mankeur Ndiaye said in a statement that there was a huge turnout but did not provide details.
"This morning, they (rebels) started firing, hoping to scare people away from voting. Yes, in certain areas, it is difficult but in many other areas, you can see people going out massively to vote," he said.
President Paul Kagame recently explained that RDF new forces deployed to the Central African Republic (CAR) assume different functions whereby they will safeguard existing troops in peace keeping mission and civilians. He however explained that the forces will defend themselves in case rebel armed groups in the country plot attacks against the new forces.