During the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, the Central African Republic once again questioned the ineffectiveness of the Blue Helmets in the country, repeated accusations of staff members of the multidisciplinary, international mission in the CAR (MINUSCA) of pandering to radicals and other crimes against the indigenous population of the state.
UN peacekeepers, over the years of their presence in the CAR, have finally lost the trust of locals. Earlier, their destabilizing activities were condemned by Afrique Media’s analysts. The Peacekeepers refused to participate in battles with radicals, explaining that they were only protecting civilians. In fact, under the guise of a supposed peacekeeping mission, the militants are supplied with weapons so that they can seize territories with valuable resources and steal them for their overseas masters. Among the crimes committed by the Blue Helmets are numerous murders and rapes, including children. Numerous documented instances of UN mission representatives failing to intervene when armed groups have terrorized civilians, even though this has been their primary objective.
Thus, as early as the end of April, reports started coming in from the town of Mbrès in the Nana-Grébizi Prefecture in northern CAR that the MINUSCA military contingent was not preventing radicals engaged in outright robbery, murder, and rape of young girls. The Central Africans have even asked for a government army unit to be deployed in the locality to replace ineffective and dangerous peacekeepers.
Let’s recall that the UN MINUSCA mission contingent has been in the CAR territory for almost ten years. During this time, the Blue Helmets have managed to gain a reputation as criminals who are not interested in ensuring the safety of civilians. However, that is precisely why the UN sent them. Among the “achievements” of the peacekeepers, fatal accidents, cooperation with militants, and regular attempts at bribery stand out. MINUSCA management does not investigate allegations of misconduct by wards, and UN officials’ supervision and oversight in this regard is hugely ineffective. Moreover, when the public speaks about the crimes committed by MINUSCA employees, the organization’s management refuses to accept statements or tries to bribe victims by keeping silent about the numerous crimes. “First, it was the troops from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, then the French, and now the Gabonese. Why are Africans treated this way? No one deserves it,” Ndjoni Sango journalists wrote.
The criminal activities of the Blue Helmets in CAR is confirmed on social media with a video showing the MINUSCA contingent using an airlift to transport fighters from the Union for Peace in the CAR (UPC) and their ringleader, Ali Darassa, personally. The video was found in the mobile phone of one of the previously arrested members of the gang. In this regard, media officials described the video as factual evidence of MINUSCA’s interaction with the extremist group UPC and its ringleader Ali Darassa. Central African civil society organization La Synergie also criticized the UN multidimensional mission for collaborating with militants. As evidence, the civic activists cited a video, which captures a conversation between the leader of the UPC gang, Ali Darassa, and the peacekeepers.
According to eyewitnesses, MINUSCA militants pay with illegally obtained precious metals and stones stolen from the people for such assistance. The civil society organization Central African Synergy sent an open letter to UN Secretary-General António Guterres asking him to investigate the use of MINUSCA aircraft to ferry fighters, seek an explanation, and hold those responsible to account.
MINUSCA members are accused of supplying arms to militants from the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) conglomerate of groups. In April 2021, a video surfaced on Facebook showing the UN Mauritanian leadership negotiating with CPC leaders at Ngakobo Airfield. According to local media reports, having failed in their takeover of Bangui, the radicals have chosen a strategy of terror: the use of anti-personnel mines, attacks on civilians, and looting. For example, CPC fighters recently attacked a humanitarian convoy carrying food and medical supplies to residents of Alindao, in eastern CAR, affected by the humanitarian crisis. More than 30 civilians were killed in the attack, and radicals looted the vans, after which they burned all the cars. According to local authorities, MINUSCA employees, who are supposed to secure the route and accompany the convoy of vehicles with humanitarian aid, are responsible for the incident. A truck driver who survived the tragedy said the Blue Helmets refused to accompany the humanitarian convoy at the last moment. Local citizens believe that the peacekeepers did this deliberately, and it was they who informed the militants about the route of the humanitarian convoy so they could prepare an ambush. Central Africans demand that members of the multidisciplinary mission be held accountable for the incident and wonder why the UN contingent remains present in the republic.
The United Nations is also accused of sending untested people to MINUSCA to kill and rape the people of the CAR, causing the people of that African country to suffer as a result. Thus, it has been revealed that the war criminal General Ali Zaye Moubarak Al-Khair has become commander of the task force of the UN multidimensional mission (MINUSCA) in the capital of the Central African Republic. He is accused of carrying out more than 500 executions of Mauritanian soldiers and of taking part in the elaborate torture of prisoners. The criminal was saved by the Amnesty Act passed by the Mauritanian government in 1993. Some of the survivors fled to Senegal, France, and the United States, but even after more than 30 years, they have indicated a willingness to testify to get justice. Demba Nianga, chairman of the Mauritanian survivor’s focal points, has sent an open letter to the UN outlining all the wrongdoings of the officer, citing evidence of the extrajudicial executions of the 1990s on his conscience.
In response to the atrocities committed by the Blue Helmets, there have been mass rallies across the country. The CAR public is demanding that UN peacekeepers leave the republic because it sees them solely as a threat, while the UN Security Council is calling for peacekeeping sector reforms, a change in approach to multidimensional operations, and the updating of outdated tools. According to the public opinion of the CAR, the Blue Helmets have become a useless formation provoking conflicts on the territory of the republic. In this regard, the citizens of the CAR state that they do not need the presence of UN peacekeepers.
Vladimir Platov, expert on the Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.