UN Security Council Approves Intervention in CAR, French Begin Military Action


Credit: Norbert Nagel, Mörfelden-Walldorf, Germany/wikimedia

Today, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution allowing French troops to join an African Union peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic. The news comes amid reports of fresh violence in Bangui, the nation's capital.

From The New York Times:

An official with Doctors Without Borders, the medical relief organization, said that at least 50 people had been killed in the fighting, with 100 others wounded.

The shooting began in the early hours Thursday, citizens said, but by midmorning the attackers appeared to have been pushed back from the neighborhood of the National Assembly, at the edge of an area fiercely opposed to the ruling rebel coalition. The streets of Bangui were deserted, and the situation remained confused, with officials of the rebel government saying that their forces had regained control, and others saying that the antigovernment fighters appeared to have penetrated the capital's outlying neighborhoods.

French President Francois Hollande has said "I have decided to act immediately, in other words, this evening," and that the mission in CAR will be different to the one in Mali, where the French military was engaged in a predominantly combat-oriented, not peacekeeping, operation.

The French will be boosting their military presence in CAR despite the fact that French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius recently said that it was not France's job to be the policeman of Africa.

The British are reportedly discussing providing logistical support for the French mission. The British assisted the French with their intervention in Mali, sending hundreds of military personnel to West Africa to help support the effort to dislodge Islamic militants from their strongholds.

In a statement today U.S. United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power said that the U.S. has already pledged $40 million to the African Union peacekeeping force, which The Guardian reports will grow from "about 2,500 to 3,500" troops.

The U.S. will not be contributing troops to the mission authorized by the U.N. Security Council, but American forces have supported Ugandan troops in CAR in their hunt for members of the Lord's Resistance Army.

During the French intervention in Mali the U.S. provided some logistic and intelligence support and a very small number of troops.