Edition 1484
21 July 2018
Edition: 1484

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Soldiers under fire in CAR UN patrol - No casualties

in News · 05-04-2018 14:25:00 · 0 Comments

A Portuguese military patrol on a UN mission in the Central African Republic (CAR) was attacked last Saturday by an armed group, but there were no casualties, the Portuguese army said in a statement.

Soldiers under fire in CAR UN patrol - No casualties

The army added that the Portuguese soldiers were on a routine patrol in part of the capital of CAR when they were attacked by light weapons’ fire at 7.10pm local time, by a group of men who “used the civilian population (women and children) as human shields”.
The statement said the soldiers all returned safely to their barracks without any casualties,
The UN mission in CAR (MINUSCA) told the France Presse agency earlier on Saturday that a patrol was under artillery attack in the PK5 Muslin neighbourhood, but did not mention the nationalities of those involved.
France Presse said that this was the first attack on ‘blue helmets’ in the PK5 neighbourhood, a mainly Muslim commercial district in Bangui, since the violence flared up in that part of the country in late 2017.
The Central-African authorities only control a tiny part of the country, which is one of the poorest in the world, and where various armed groups fight over provinces to control diamonds, gold and cattle.
The attack came days after Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa visited the Portuguese contingent that forms part of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), and soldiers commanding the European Union training mission there.
The president visited at the start of last week, on Monday, accompanied by Portugal’s minister of national defence, José Azeredo Lopes.
The Portuguese contingent is made up of 159 soldiers in all, 21 of whom have been on the ground since mid-February, based at the Bangui barracks. The rest set off from Portugal at the start of March, and include three members of the air force and 135 of the army, mostly from the 1st battalion of the Paras.
The force, which is commanded by a lieutenant-colonel, João Bernardino, constitutes a rapid reaction force under the operational control of the military component of MINUSCA. 
It substitutes the soldiers of a previous force that was on duty for six months in the Bangui, Bocaranga and Bangassou areas.
A separate contingent of 40 Portuguese soldiers heads up the EU training mission – the first time that Portugal has had this responsibility. 
The mission as a whole has 170 soldiers from 12 countries.

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Edition 1484
21 July 2018
Edition: 1484

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

Twitter

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