During the latest meetings of the EU Foreign Affairs Council, on 19th April 2016, a new military operation in the Central African Republic has been approved.
The EU has a history of military presence in CAR since 2014, when a temporary stabilisation force was deployed in Bangui to help local authorities establishing a safe and secure environment as well as serving as a bridge between European and African forces. The operation was backed by a UN mandate. Once EUFOR RCA completed its mandate on 15th March 2015, EUMAM RCA was launched the following day. In this case, the mandate of the operation was a military advisory mission to oversee and help with efforts in terms of security sector reform (SSR).
On this occasion the Council has agreed to establish a new military training mission in the Central African Republic, codenamed EUTM RCA, which will continue to support the efforts of SSR as well as consolidating the Central African Republic armed forces.
According to the official press release:
“The mission will be based in Bangui and operate for an initial period of two years. Following up an EU military advisory mission (EUMAM RCA), it will work towards a modernised, effective, inclusive and democratically accountable Central African Armed Forces (FACA). It will provide strategic advice to the CAR’s Ministry of Defence and the general staff, as well as education and training to the FACA.”
Since 2012, the Central African Republic has seen a rise in inter-religious tensions which saw the Seleka rebel coalition overtaking the capital (Bangui) in March 2013. During the summer of that year it was already estimated that the conflict had led to the internal displacement of 150,000 people. By the end of 2014 the EEAS stated that the humanitarian emergency had increased exponentially with 410,000 IDPs and 425,000 refugees in neighbouring countries.