Central Southern AfricaBlog AnalysisReport

What can we learn from Bangui and the EUFOR RCA operation in Bangui?

(BRUSSELS2) By going to Bangui at the end of October and during discussions with the various members and officials of the European Union peacekeeping operation (EUFOR Rca) deployed in the Central African capital, I was able to measure certain realities. The few terms, which are sometimes used to characterize the situation on the ground, are not just words. The Central African state remains to be built. The task is not small.

1° The “volatility of the land” is not an empty word. Having patrolled with General Lion's teams for 3 days, I saw in 72 hours the situation greatly improve in the same streets that we had traveled a few hours before.

2° Theimprovement of the situation in Bangui is visible. But all is not won. A step has been taken. But a reversible notch. And it is important to consolidate it, and to do it quickly.

3° The security provided by multinationals is not everything. Multinational security patrols alone will not be enough to maintain security, even if they are more effective. The relay must be ensured by the Central Africans. The greatest pain I perceived among the inhabitants of Bangui was not only insecurity. But no police, military, Central Africans – people from home – responded to their calls.

A need for justice. It is not just elections, or democracy, that the country urgently needs. What is needed is justice in the general sense of the term, equity, and taking into account the needs of the population. Impunity is the worst insecurity.

When building a building for the future, it is important to first take into account emergencies. Wanting to act according to standards thought out, reflected in the European way where time is possible, democratic consensus acquired and where a motion of censure is of the ordinary democratic order is illusory. The desire to rebuild a State starting from A to Z seems a theory. Emergency laws must be established quickly, possibly by decree, to allow judges to do their work. There is nothing worse than having several dozen young people in prison with, deep down, a deep feeling of injustice, of not being listened to. When they come out, I fear the worst.

6° Thecoat of arms, the European flag undeniably brings a plus to this country. Even if the mission is limited to Bangui, we cannot deny the impact of General Lion's men. The French, Georgian, Latvian, Polish, Spanish and Italian sections as well as the Finnish Cimic which patrol the streets undoubtedly bring a certain freshness, a notion of maintaining order, impartial, which cannot be taken to task by the accusation of neocolonialism.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

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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).

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