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CAR declares state of emergency for the next 15 days

UN peace keepers in CAR   -  
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Central African Republic

The Central African Republic has declared a 15-day state of emergency throughout the country as a coalition of armed groups seeks to overthrow re-elected President Faustin Archange Touadéra.

The spokesperson for the presidency of the CAR, Albert Yaloké Mokpeme made the announcement Thursday on national radio.

He said the state of emergency was applicable throughout the country for a period of 15 days from midnight January 21 until February 4.

The measure comes as an alliance of six armed groups carried out sporadic attacks in towns far from the capital and on the RN3 highway, the crucial supply line linking Bangui with neighbouring Cameroon.

President Archange Touadera was reelected in a contentious vote in December 27, 2020 and was repelled by the opposition and several armed groups.

Militias claiming to represent ethnic or other groups control two-thirds of CAR's territory, raising queries about government’s control of the vast mineral rich central African country.

The UN envoy to the Central African Republic Mankeur Ndiaye, on Thursday called to the Security Council for a "substantial increase" in the number of peacekeepers deployed in the country, after recent deadly attacks by armed groups.

The increase must be accompanied by "greater mobility" in a very large country, added the UN representative. Ndiaye also deplored what he called a "huge desertion" since December of Central African security forces, which requires reforms.

"There must be a strategy for adjusting the mandate," he insisted during a video conference of the Council organized by African members of this body after a request from Bangui.

Mr. Ndiaye did not specify the number of additional peacekeepers desired for the Minusca mission, which already has nearly 12,000 troops and represents one of the largest and most expensive UN operations in the world.

At least 100,000 people have fled their homes in the country as a rebel coalition calling for the resignation of the president launches attacks.

Though most of attacks have been foiled by a combined operation of UN peacekeepers and government soldiers, there have however been a few blue helmet casualties.

The situation has now thrown into jeapardy two years of relative peace in a country that was wracked by a brutal five year civil war that started in 2013.

The security forces in the Central African Republic are mainly trained by the European Union and Russian instructors.