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Portuguese Army Ambushed in Central African Republic

In an announcement today the Armed Forces General Staff (EMGFA) confirmed that a division of Portuguese military personnel stationed in the Central African Republic (CAR) were ambushed on the 26th of September in Yadé, northern Bangui, by  ‘an armed group.’ Luckily there were no casualties.

The ambush took place during a Portuguese contingent mission, which is part of the rapid intervention force of the United Nations Integrated Multidimensional Mission for the stabilisation of the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).

The Portuguese military were deployed from the 23rd to the 30th of September to “protect the population against an offensive stance by one of the armed militia groups in the CAR.” On arrival in Yadé, north of Bangui, the capital, which was already under Portuguese Army drone surveillance a battle ensued between the army and opposing forces.  During the skirmish one division of the peacekeeping force has ambushed via an incendiary device and gunfire.

RCA fell into chaos and violence in 2013 following the overthrow of former President François Bozizé by armed groups in Séléka, prompting opposition from other militias grouped under the anti-Balaka banner.

The Central African Government controls about one-fifth of the territory. The rest is governed by more than 15 militias, who finance their activities through kidnappings, extortion, roadblocks, mineral resources (diamonds and gold, among others), cattle theft and slaughter of elephants for ivory sales.

A peace agreement was signed in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, in early February by the government and 14 armed groups.  One month later, the parties came to an understanding of inclusive government as part of the peace process.

Portugal has been present in CAR since early 2017, as part of the United Nations mission and the 6th FND, the Rapid Reaction Force, comprises of 180 military personnel, mostly paratroopers; 177 belonging to the Army and three to the Air Force.  Also attached to the unit are eight members of the Public Security Police.

Samantha Gannon

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Madeira Weekly