In Summary
  • In December, the council approved Russia's request to send light arms to build up CAR's armed forces.
  • Nine aircraft landed in Bangui in late January and early February to deliver the Russian weapons and ammunition.
  • CAR's armed forces are being trained by the European Union as part of an effort to restore stability to the country.

UNITED NATIONS

Russia's supply of weapons to the Central African Republic's military has sparked an arms race, with rebels turning to traffickers in Sudan for fresh gun shipments, according to a UN panel of experts.

In a report released Tuesday, the panel said the UN-approved deliveries of military equipment to CAR's defence forces had "led to waves of rearmament" by some factions of the former Muslim Seleka alliance.

The rebel factions "believe that the government is preparing for a war against them", said the report sent to the Security Council last week.

In December, the council approved Russia's request to send light arms to build up CAR's armed forces which are being trained by the European Union as part of an effort to restore stability to the country.

AIRCRAFT

Nine aircraft landed in Bangui in late January and early February to deliver the Russian weapons and ammunition, which are being gradually distributed to trained forces in the capital and beyond.

The Central African Republic exploded into violence following the 2013 overthrow of long-time leader Francois Bozize, prompting France to intervene with its Operation Sangaris.

The UN peacekeeping mission known as MINUSCA was deployed in 2014, but the country remains overrun with militias, many of whom claim to protect Christian or Muslim communities.

"The recent acquisition of weaponry by the government has created an incentive for the active rearmament of ex-Seleka factions," said the report, which reported a "hardening of the positions" of those groups.

"Armed group elements told the panel that, since the government had opted for the military option (training, rearming and attacking) instead of the political process, armed groups needed to be prepared."

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