(BRUXELLES2 - in Bangui) For a week, Bangui la Coquette was my headquarters. We were able to meet various European actors involved in the security and reconstruction of the country, both within the European training mission EUTM RCA and the United Nations force, MINUSCA. An exclusive report by B2 (1).
A welcoming city
The city is rather calm, taxis waiting at every street corner to take you to the offices of one of the international organizations present. The Central Africans, on the other hand, tend to travel by motorcycle taxi, to go to the market, the boiling of which proves the return of the economy to the city. Around 15 p.m., the streets fill with young people coming out of schools, high school and university in Bangui. The soccer fields are filling up. Others are not so lucky, and try to sell you fruit or water on the street. If poverty is there, in the streets of Bangui, we almost forget that the Central African Republic is the poorest country in Africa.
EUTM RCA: train and advise the FACA
The first visit was to Camp Kassaï, the training camp for the Central African armed forces, the FACA. This made it possible to attend the last preparation exercises before the test putting to the test each of the three companies forming the land infantry battalion One (BIT 1). Read : At Camp Kassaï, FACA training is progressing at a good pace
It was also an opportunity to meet those who are by their side day after day, the instructors of the European Central African Armed Forces Training Mission (EUTM RCA). Read : The formation of the FACA: diving into the work of the mission
And since EUTM is not just about training, we also met the French general in charge of the strategic advice pillar at the Ministry of Defence, whose role is to support them in rebuilding the entire structure of defense of the country, and its budget. Read : EUTM RCA, conductor of the reconstruction of the defense structure
Impossible to leave the UCATEX-MOANA camp without having the more global vision of the commander of this mission, the Spanish general Fernando García Blázquez. Read : Train the FACA to be an element of state presence throughout the country (General Blázquez)
In Bangui, Europeans do not only serve in the European Union mission. They are also found in the UN force – MINUSCA – in very distinct tasks. The Portuguese commandos, spearhead of the mission, told how they took over the town of Bocaranga on October 7th. Read : Portuguese commandos on the front line of the fighting in the CAR
On the other side of the mission's spectrum of action, four Spaniards, a Frenchman and a Nigerian make up the scientific police unit responsible for participating in the most delicate investigations, often attacks that have killed blue helmets. or massacres of civilians. Without great means, they nevertheless take their second mission to heart, to train Central African police and gendarmes. Read : Forensic science within MINUSCA
The security situation: worse than a year ago
We asked our interlocutors about their perception of the security situation. The Europeans from EUTM or the European delegation point to a worse situation than a year ago. On the side of the UN mission, MINUSCA, we are less negative. " We have made great progress explained General Keita, commander of the military force. Arrived in 2014, he insists. " The idea of a partition of the country has disappeared. The major cities of the country are safe places. If there are still confrontations with armed groups, civilians are much less targeted. » Read: Security situation worse than a year ago
(1) A report on the initiative and financed largely on own funds by B2. A big thank you for the welcome to all the troops present, particularly the Spanish and Portuguese officers, who facilitated our work on site.
Read the various articles (* on B2 Pro):
- 1. At Camp Kassaï, FACA training is progressing at a good pace
- 2. FACA training: diving into the work of the mission*
- 3. EUTM RCA, conductor of the reconstruction of the defense structure*
- 4. Portuguese commandos on the front line in CAR
- 5. The scientific police within the Minusca
- 6. Train the FACA to be an element of state presence throughout the country (General Blázquez)
- (to be continued) 7. The security situation