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CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: CEMAC force commander worried about too few troops

BANGUI, 5 March 2003 (IRIN) - The 303 soldiers of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central African States (CEMAC) deployed for peacekeeping and other duties in the Central African Republic (CAR) are too few for the mission, according to the new force commander, Rear Adml Martin Mavoungou.

"It is a preoccupation of all the subregional political leaders," he said over state-owned Radio Centrafrique on Tuesday. "This issue is being examined. I think it will change, and additional provisions will be made to give us a more substantial force."

His comments were broadcast a day after he met CAR President Ange-Felix Patasse.

Of the 303 peacekeeping troops currently deployed, 146 are from Gabon, 126 from the Republic of Congo and 31 from Equatorial Guinea. More troops are expected from Cameroon and Mali, which is not a CEMAC member.

The CEMAC set up the force during its 2 October 2002 summit in the Gabonese capital, Libreville, on 2 October 2002. Its mission is to protect Patasse, monitor the CAR-Chad border, and restructure the CAR army. The force was deployed in late December 2002 and is also patrolling the streets of the capital, Bangui.

Themes: (IRIN) Conflict

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