Central African Republic: UN mission captures militia leader in high-profile arrest

MINUSCA peacekeepers on patrol in the Central African Republic. Photo: MINUSCA

MINUSCA peacekeepers on patrol in the Central African Republic. Photo: MINUSCA

CAR, 19 January 2015 – The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic (CAR) has announced the capture of Rodrigue Ngaibona, leader of the anti-Balaka militia, in what is being hailed as the Mission’s first high-profile arrest of 2015.

Addressing the daily press briefing at UN Headquarters in New York, UN spokesperson Farhan Haq told reporters that peacekeepers serving with the integrated stabilization Mission, known by its French acronym, MINUSCA, apprehended Mr. Ngaibona in the town of Bouca following an arrest warrant issued by the country’s Public Prosecutor.

Mr. Ngaibona, who also goes by the nom de guerre ‘General Andilo,’ was then brought to Bossangoa by the ‘blue helmets’ who subsequently handed him over to the authorities.

More than two years of civil war and sectarian violence have displaced thousands of people in the CAR amid continuing clashes between the mainly Muslim Séléka alliance and anti-Balaka militia, which are mostly Christian.

According to UN estimates, nearly 440,000 people remain displaced inside the country while some 190,000 have sought asylum across the borders. At the same time, more than 36,000 people – including the Peuhl ethnic group – remain trapped in enclaves across the country, hoping to find asylum in neighbouring States.

Since September 2014, MINUSCA has arrested over 200 individuals in its support to the CAR authorities to maintain rule of law. Nonetheless, the situation in the country remains tenuous, with Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, recently warning that the atmosphere in the Central African Republic was potentially explosive.