Rwanda fortifies CAR peace efforts ahead of Sunday elections

On 21 December 2020 at 08:34

The Government of Rwanda has deployed force protection troops to the Central African Republic, under an existing bilateral agreement on defense.

According to a statement released by the Ministry of Defense, the deployment is in response to the targeting of the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) contingent under the UN Peacekeeping force by rebels supported by François Bozize.

“Rwandan troops will also contribute to ensuring a peaceful and secure general elections scheduled on Sunday 27th December 2020, twenty-two months after the peace agreement which was reached between the government and fourteen armed groups,” reads the statement in part.

The Rwanda Defence Force is one of the largest troop contributors to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) since 2014.

CAR has been hit by insecurity as rebels and opposition groups seek suspension of elections fearing results.

On Saturday, 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.

However, the ex-president of the Central African Republic has denied the allegation.
Tensions rose after Mr Bozizé’s candidacy for this week’s national elections was rejected by the country’s highest court.

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".

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.

Rwandan on CAR peacekeeping mission in 2014 (Photo: AFP)