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Portuguese military accused of “crimes against humanity” in Central African Republic

Portuguese military accused of “crimes against humanity” in Central African RepublicThe UN mission in the Central African Republic (CAR) is becoming increasingly complicated after various street protests which have accused Portuguese paratroopers and Ruandan military of “crimes against humanity”.

Says Observador, repeated references to “massacre” were used by protestors calling for the withdrawal of Portuguese military currently station in CAR.

A number of “very violent” confrontations have been registered in the last few weeks, leading to “dozens” of deaths of armed militia vying for control of the territory.

To date there have been no Portuguese deaths, though one soldier was hurt in attacks earlier this week.

Say reports here, it is precisely because of the trouble coming from various quarters that the commander of the UN mission, Senegalese general Balla Keita, sent in his Quick Reaction Force – of which the Portuguese paras are a central force.

On at least two occasions, the QRF was ambushed, with attacking militia purportedly making using of civilians as “human shields” (click here).

As the UN has stressed, accusations that soldiers making up its peace mission could be guilty of crimes against humanity are more a case of “instrumentalisation of local populations”, and the taking of “political advantage”.

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