Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the recent rebel attack on the town of Birao in north-east Central African Republic (CAR), which occurred less than two weeks after the handing over of the United Nations mission’s camps to the national authorities.
Rebels of the Convention des patriotes pour la justice et la paix (CPJP) stormed Birao, which is near the borders with Chad and Sudan, in an attack on Wednesday that the CAR military reportedly said killed at least four of its soldiers.
“The Secretary-General calls on all concerned to exercise maximum restraint to ensure the safety of civilians, as efforts are being made by the national authorities to restore normalcy, and ensure peace and reconciliation among all the parties concerned,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement issued on Friday, UN News Service reports.
The UN Mission in the CAR and Chad (MINURCAT) was set up by the Security Council in 2007 to help protect civilians and facilitate humanitarian aid to thousands of people uprooted due to insecurity in the two countries and neighbouring Sudan.
In May the Council decided to end the mission by 31 December, after the Chadian Government requested the move and said it would assume full responsibility for protecting civilians on its territory.
In his most recent report on MINURCAT, the Secretary-General warned that the security situation in north-eastern CAR continues to suffer from inter-ethnic conflict, banditry and cross-border criminality.
In anticipation of the mission’s withdrawal, the Government has continued to express concern about the security situation in that part of the country, and has repeatedly stated its preference for the receipt of direct bilateral support to build up the capacity of its security forces.
The Secretary-General, in yesterday’s statement, reiterated his call on the international community, including the CAR’s bilateral partners, “to assist the national authorities in building the capacity of the national defense forces, in order to strengthen State authority throughout the country.”