The head of the United Nations has asked the Security Council to bolster foreign forces in the Central African Republic by another 10,000 soldiers to protect civilians caught in ongoing violence between Christian and Muslim fighters.
Ban Ki-moon said he wanted the extra soldiers in CAR on top of the foreign troops already there, as the UNSC on Thursday held talks on the situation in the country.
Al Jazeera’s diplomatic editor James Bays, reporting from the UN headquarters in New York, said Ban’s report suggested the troops should be given the right to use force if necessary.
Herve Ladsous, the UN head of peacekeeping, also made it clear that this force would be in addition to the 6,000-plus soldiers from the African Union and the 2,000 French troops already there.
There also seemed to be a dispute between UK and US and France. The French have said that they are keeping their troops in CAR as a “rapid-reaction force”.
“The UK and US believe that perhaps the UN is entering into a long commitment in CAR without the mandate clearly defined – they would prefer more of a policing mission and not a very large military force,” Bays said.
Meanwhile, Al Jazeera’s Tania Page, reporting from Bangui, said the capital city had calmed down, although there were killings daily.
“Beyond the capital, things are more insecure … particularly the north, near the border with Chad, it is a no-go zone,” she said.
Page said humanitarian operations in the area were scarce.