Ghanaian troops join UN mission in Chad, Central African Republic

14 May 2009 – Over 100 Ghanaian soldiers have joined the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the war-ravaged nations of Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR), it was announced today.

In a move welcomed by the mission, known as MINURCAT, 131 Ghanaian troops are in transit and will replace departing forces in the Farchana area of eastern Chad.

They will join 71 Ghanaian blue helmets deployed to MINURCAT last March, and at full strength, the mission will include 800 peacekeepers from Ghana.

In a related development, an attack last night on the station in Goz Amer, Chad, of the Détachement intégré de sécurité (DIS) – a security forced trained by MINURCAT to protect refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and aid agencies in eastern Chad – resulted in the death of one DIS officer.

According to a MINURCAT report, six unidentified armed men in civilian clothing opened fire on the DIS officers present at the site.

In a press release issued in Abéché, the mission deplored the deadly attack and expressed its condolences to the family and colleagues of the DIS officer who was killed.

Eastern Chad faces an acute humanitarian challenge, with over 290,000 Sudanese refugees from the conflict in Darfur, Sudan, more than 180,000 IDPs and a further 700,000 individuals among host communities in need of food, water and health care.

Northern CAR has also been affected by a spill-over from Darfur as well as by displacement resulting from other armed conflicts.

In September 2007, the Security Council approved the establishment in Chad and CAR, in concert with the European Union (EU), of a UN-mandated, multidimensional presence, including European Union (EU) military forces, to help protect civilians and facilitate humanitarian aid to thousands of people uprooted due to insecurity in the two countries and neighbouring Sudan.

On 15 March, UN peacekeepers took over the military and security responsibilities of EUFOR after the Council approved the deployment of an additional 5,500 blue helmets to serve with MINURCAT. However, deployment currently stands at half that level.

Source: UN News Centre