Central Southern AfricaBlog Analysis

Incidents in Bangui. A certain slowness to confirm. Some explanations

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In Bangui, soldiers of the GTIA “Gris” – Credit: French Army

(BRUSSELS2) The European Union – through the European Diplomatic Service (EEAS) and General Ponties – like the (French) General Staff of the armies took nearly 24 hours to confirm the information from the field reporting violent clashes between armed men and the European forces of EUFOR RCA and French forces of Sangaris, leaving a dozen wounded in the ranks of French soldiers (read, updated paper: Violent incidents in Bangui. Several injured at EUFOR RCA and Sangaris).

One could wonder why ?

It would be in vain to look for reasons for this “slowness” somewhere in Brussels or in Larissa, the headquarters of the EUFOR Rca mission. The reason for this slowness is more likely to be found in Paris. There is, in fact, a custom, during multinational operations, to ensure the communication of incidents or losses in close coordination with the State of origin of the military victims of events, leaving (most generally) the one ensure both the firstness of the announcement and its format. EU military operations are no exception to this unwritten rule. An EU military operation remains, in fact, always a multinational operation unlike civilian missions which rely more on European elements and discipline.

Warn families…

On the latest incidents in Bangui, Paris's desire not to communicate immediately is due above all to the fact that " families be warned » as one of the military officials explained. This is a laudable reason but it also covers several other elements, one of which has a tactical content and the other a more political one.

Ensure the exact assessment and repatriate the most serious

On the one hand, the condition of the (seriously) injured fluctuated. In particular, one of the injured soldiers was in “very serious” condition according to military sources. And we had to wait to be clearer about his condition before communicating. Communication thus took place when the most seriously affected were evacuated, repatriated and treated in hospitals in mainland France.

Do not fault the presidential speech

On the other hand, this event cruelly contradicts the words of the French president, François Hollande who, in Le Monde published on August 21, was delighted to have finished with the “major operations” in the Central African Republic, thus making one think of a possible a lull in the Rep. Central African Republic (*). Hence a rather “mezzo vocce” communication from Paris: no press release from the Ministry of Defense (as is rather the custom) but simple information from the armies published on its website and Facebook, and no communication from the Elysée…

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

(*) “ In the Central African Republic, (…) it takes longer than expected, but we have finished with the biggest operations and we have prepared a transition »

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).