Operation Echo Casemate
Operation Echo Casemate was the name given to the US airlift of Burundian peacekeepers to reinforce the the African-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic (MISCA). The US announced its intent to provide this support on 9 December 2013 after consultations with France, which had launched its own intervention, Operation Sangaris, just days before. The international interventions came as a result of an explosion in violence between members of the officially dissolved Seleka rebel group that had overthrown the country's leadership in March 2013 and installed their leader, Michel Djotodia, as President.
The US has initially pledged $40 million in monetary assistance to help with peacekeeping efforts, but later agreed to assist in airlifting African peacekeepers into CAR in coordination with French forces. The US agreed to assist in the movement of a single Burundian infantry battalion and its associated equipment into CAR. The US airlift operation involved a logistics support element in the capital of Burundi, Bujumbura, a security element in Bangui, the capital of CAR, and a command and control element based at Entebbe in Uganda. Logistics support in Burundi was provided by elements of Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force - Africa, which had already been in the country training Burundian Army logistics companies for upcoming deployments to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Entebbe, Uganda was hub in the region for US involvement in other operations, such as Operation Observant Compass, US support to the regional effort to counter the Lord's Resistance Army.
The first C-17A sortie between Burundi and CAR was flown on 13 December 2013. The US declared the mission complete on 30 December 2013, having transported 857 Burundi troops, 73 pallets of equipment, and 18 Burundian military vehicles, including Chinese WZ551 armored personnel carriers, to CAR. The US said it remained poised to provide additional support if required.
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