NEW YORK — The UN Security Council has voted to send almost 12,000 peacekeeping troops to the Central African Republic (CAR) to stop a two-year-old conflict that the United Nations fears could become a genocide. The UN force would supplement French and African Union troops already on the ground.
Peacekeeping may be the key to ending the violence, but advocates such as Human Rights Watch and the Enough Project acknowledge that a UN effort offers no guarantees for peace – or for building long-term stability in the troubled country.
Pessimism centers on the volatility of the Central African Republic’s post-independence history and the sheer complexity of the current conflict. The country, rich in precious minerals, has survived three military coups and a series of failed revolutions since it gained independence from France in 1960.
The latest conflict began in 2012, when the Séléka, an alliance of domestic rebel militia and mercenaries from Chad and Sudan, invaded parts of the country, claiming to fight against the corruption and abuses of President François Bozizé’s government. A year ago, the rebels ousted Bozizé’s forces and installed Séléka leader Michel Djotodia of CAR as the country’s first Muslim president.