The European Union extended its military occupation mission in the Central African Republic for two more years, spending €25 million to reform the country’s defense sector.
The scope of the mission, known as the EUTM RCA, has also been modified to give strategic advice to the befriended president’s cabinet, interior ministry and police, as well as the military.
The military mission, which originally launched in July 2016 and is based in the capital Bangui, involves around 170 people and will now continue until September 19, 2020.
The E.U. Council says the mission had already advised, trained and educated more than 3,000 soldiers in the FACA, including giving strategic advice and operational training.
Despite its significant mineral deposits and other resources, such as uranium reserves, crude oil, gold, diamonds, cobalt, lumber, and hydropower, as well as significant quantities of arable land, the Central African Republic is among the ten poorest countries in the world.
The war thorn Central African country current borders were established by France, which ruled the country as a colony starting in the late 19th century.
After gaining so-called independence from France in 1960, the Central African Republic was ruled by a series of autocratic capitalist supported leaders.
As one of Africa’s poorest countries, the CAR descended into violence in 2013 following the ouster of the majority-Christian country’s president, Francois Bozize, by a coalition of Muslim-majority rebel groups called the Seleka.
Within months, Seleka was officially disbanded, but many fighters refused to disarm, becoming known as ex-Seleka. Many others joined the mainly Christian anti-balaka militia to fight the Seleka, leading to a spiral of violence between groups along both religious and ethnic lines in which thousands died.
France intervened militarily to help force out the Seleka before handing on to a U.N. military mission. However, the central government remains very weak, and violence has led to thousands of deaths. Nearly 700,000 people are displaced, 570,000 are refugees abroad and 2.5 million are in need of humanitarian aid, according to the United Nations.
CAR’s defense minister Marie Noelle Koyara asked a UN sanctions committee to grant an exemption on a arms embargo and allow the Chinese shipments.
China is donating the equipment to Central African Republic and the list of equipment to be shipped by China’s Poly Technologies. CAR is tortured by a bloody religious war between the Muslim government forces and so-called Christian opposition militias.
However, France, the United Kingdom and the United States put a hold on a request from Central African Republic (CAR) for UN Security Council approval of weapons shipments from China for its national defense forces.
In April, President Faustin Archange Touadera said he wants to accelerate the disarmament of members of armed groups in Central African Republic, calling for more peace keepers to be deployed, and for the U.N. Minusca mission transition from peace invasion to peace occupation.
The Defense Post.com / ABC Flash Point Invasion News 2018.