French one-star general Jacques Langlade de Montgros is the new European Union Training Mission in the Central African Republic (EUTM CAR) commander taking over from Brigadier General Paulo Neves de Abreu.
The EUTM mission, described as “an important ally” by the UN Mission in CAR (MINUSCA), is charged with providing training and advice to the host country’s armed forces (Forces armées centrafricaines, better known by the acronym FACA).
In his farewell speech last week de Abreu saluted the “fundamental” support of EUTM’s national and international partners, including MINUSCA, the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).
He thanked soldiers who worked alongside him over the past year saying “the almost 650 men and women from 14 countries who served under my command all contributed to efforts to reconstruct this country. They are testimony to the EUTM’s commitment as a reliable CAR partner”.
Incoming commander De Montgros is relishing the task ahead – contributing to development of CAR military capacity and training the country’s future military leaders. “It’s a joy to be back with the Central African people whom I’ve come to know on previous visits, an honour to be involved in training CAR Armed Forces and I’m proud to command this mission”.
“I’m ready to meet the challenges ahead with determination; I know patience and perseverance will be required to obtain the desired results,” he said on assuming command.
Coinciding with the change of command parade Portuguese defence minister João Cardona Gomes Cravinho and UN Secretary General Special Representative Mankeur Ndiaye lauded Portugal’s contribution to MINUSCA, notably through the Portuguese quick reaction force which conducted major ground operations to contain armed groups in parts of the country.
Ndiaye said the Portuguese peacekeepers were “efficient, professional and resilient” and praised their efforts on the frontlines of the December 2020 security crisis during the CAR presidential elections, in places such as Bossembele (south-western CAR) where they helped ensure security “through implementation of the integrated security plan for the elections”.
MINUSCA is confident the MINUSCA and EUTM CAR partnership on Security Sector Reform – with the UN mission working to improve internal security forces capacity and the EU one strengthening FACA – would continue to bear fruit.