The security situation in the Central African Republic appears to get worse by the day, as the nation’s de facto president loses control of the loose coalition of militia groups that have supported him since he seized power. International observers estimate that 400,000 people have been internally displaced and some 68,000 new refugees have fled in recent months to neighboring countries amid deplorable levels of violence and lawlessness.
The United States is deeply concerned about the crisis and the way in which the militias are organizing along increasingly sectarian lines to engage in a cycle of retaliatory abuses against civilians. At this time, we see no evidence that President Michel Djotodia’s transitional government has the capacity or political will to end the violence, especially abuses committed by elements of the Seleka alliance that are supporting the president.
The CAR has been roiled since March when the Seleka, many of them from Sudan and Chad, ousted President Francois Bozize. Clashes with groups loyal to Bozize have continued, and in the absence of authority, insurgent groups like the Lord’s Resistance Army have increasingly found refuge in the CAR, adding to the volatile conditions.
Clearly more needs to be done, and the United States plans to provide $40 million to the African Union peacekeeping mission known as MISCA to help protect civilians and provide better security throughout the country. We believe that the African Union force, which is already on the ground and knows the territory, is the best mechanism to help quickly address the ongoing violence, prevent further atrocities and provide the security required to allow humanitarian organizations to provide badly needed aid to all in need of assistance, and to allow for documentation and investigation into the numerous human rights violations. These funds come in addition to the more than $24 million our nation has already provided for humanitarian aid in CAR.
We call on the region and the international community to support and fully deploy MISCA in order to restore security to the country, and we will continue working with our international partners to encourage a political transition to a democratically elected government in the CAR.
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