KAMPALA (AA) – The United Nations has asked Uganda to contribute troops to the 12,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping mission in the war-ravaged Central African Republic (CAR) as fighting rages on.
“We have received this information and its good news,” army spokesman Lt Col Paddy Ankunda told Anadolu Agency.
“The U.N. wants us to deploy 850 soldiers in the northern part of CAR at the border with Chad by September,” he said.
In April, the U.N. voted to authorize the deployment of the 12,000-strong U.N. Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).
“We have told them that if they want our soldiers, we shall stay where we are now, that is in the East and Central parts of the country,” said Ankunda.
Asked what would happen if the U.N. does not agree to the Ugandan suggestion, he said “if they agree to it, we shall deploy, if they do not, we shall not deploy.”
Uganda first deployed in CAR in 2007 UNDER an African Union mandate to hunt down the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and its leader Joseph Kony.
There are 2000 Ugandan troops now serving in CAR under the AU mandate.
“We have exhibited that we have the capacity to stabilize the region and that is why the U.N. is asking Uganda to move further,” said Ankunda.
“We have enough soldiers and if the U.N. agrees to our conditions, we shall deploy more soldiers,” he added.
Ugandan announced early in July killing 11 Seleka militants in CAR.
CAR descended into anarchy last year when Seleka rebels ousted then president Francois Bozize, a Christian who had come to power in a 2003 coup. The rebels later installed Michel Djotodia, a Muslim, as an interim president.
The country was plagued by tit-for-tat sectarian violence between Christian anti-balaka militias and the seleka fighters.
Anti-Muslim violence escalated after Djotodia stepped down in January and was replaced by Catherine Samba-Panza, a Christian who formerly served as mayor of the capital, Bangui.
Christians, who account for the majority of the country’s population, accuse Muslims of supporting the former Seleka rebels blamed for attacking Christian homes, looting property and carrying out summary executions.
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