Chad blasts UN report on troop abuses in C. Africa

AFP , Friday 2 Jun 2017

Chad has strongly objected to a UN report accusing its soldiers of abuses in Central African Republic in an official letter seen by AFP on Friday.

"The government of Chad strongly opposes this report which is unfairly written," said the letter from Justice Minister Ahmat Mahamat Hassan, describing it as "filled with false, defamatory and prejudicial allegations against the honour of Chadian soldiers".

Dated May 24, it said Chad was "opposed" to the publication of the report issued Tuesday which mapped a litany of human rights violations in CAR between 2013 and 2015.

The damning report documented 620 serious human rights violations including rape, murder, torture and kidnapping committed by the army, armed groups and international forces.

Published by the UN Human Rights Office and the UN mission in Central Africa (MINUSCA), it included details of abuses allegedly carried out by Chadian soldiers.

Chadian troops were the largest part of MISCA, an African Union peacekeeping mission which began operating in CAR in December 2013.

But in April 2014, Chad withdraw its entire force of more than 800 troops following UN accusations its soldiers staged an unprovoked attack on a market in the capital Bangui, firing into the crowd and killing about 30 people.

At the time, the UN Human Rights Commission said an investigation had found the soldiers fired "without any provocation" in claims branded defamatory by Chad.

The troops were also repeatedly accused of siding with the mainly Muslim Seleka movement and condoning their abuses against the majority Christian population.

Chad, which neighbours CAR to the north, has a predominantly Muslim population.

MISCA later became the MINUSCA force.

One of the world's poorest nations, Central Africa collapsed into anarchy in 2013 with the overthrow of president Francois Bozize by former Seleka rebels, sparking a bloody sectarian showdown with Christian anti-Balaka militias.

Military intervention by France followed by the deployment of MINUSCA reduced the level of violence, but the bloodshed flared again last month when more than 100 people were killed and another 100,000 were forced to flee their homes, UN figures show. 

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