UN Peacekeeping Mission in Central African Republic Stands at 6,500 Troops

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As the UN takes over peacekeeping in the Central African Republic, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said in a statement the new mission is estimated to include 6,500 troops.

UNITED NATIONS, September 15 (RIA Novosti) - As the UN takes over peacekeeping in the Central African Republic, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said in a statement the new mission is estimated to include 6,500 troops.

"[The mission] stands at some 6,500 troops, 1,000 police and a complement of civilian staff that are progressively deploying throughout the country," the statement said.

Ban welcomed "the transfer of authority today from the African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic. This transfer of authority marks the successful completion of MISCA's mandate and the beginning of MINUSCA's military and police action in the Central African Republic."

"The Secretary-General reiterates his serious concern about continued attacks against civilians, especially outside of Bangui. He renews his call on all parties to put an immediate end to the violence, in accordance with the cessation of hostilities agreement," the UN statement added.

Ban concluded late Sunday by calling on "all Central African stakeholders to sustain their commitment to an inclusive political process to ensure the successful completion of the country's transition."

Peacekeeping in the Central African Republic is dangerous. On August 19, UN envoy Babacar Gaye told the Security Council that sectarian violence and reprisals continued in many places in the country.

As examples, Gaye told the Council that 26 people were killed, including two African Union peacekeepers, "in Batangafo on July 31 and subsequent reprisal attacks. In Mbres, 38 people were killed due to sectarian violence."

The situation in the African republic escalated in December 2013, when clashes between Islamist militants from Seleka rebel group and Christian activists confronting them swept the Bangui. According to UN estimates, up to one million people were forced to flee their homes with over a thousand being killed since the conflict started.

The UN is set to become responsible for peacekeeping in the Central African Republic on September 15, replacing the African Union force which is currently in the country.

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