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UN renews CAR mission amid growing feud over Russian mercenaries 

By Julian Pecquet
Posted on Monday, 15 November 2021 17:58

A United Nations peacekeeping soldier provides security during a food aid delivery in the village of Makunzi Wali, Central African Republic
A United Nations peacekeeping soldier provides security during a food aid delivery by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and world food program in the village of Makunzi Wali, Central African Republic, April 27, 2017. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

The UN Security Council voted Friday to renew its peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic (CAR) despite a bitter feud over the role of Russian mercenaries in the country.

The vote on the French-drafted resolution was 13 to 0, with Russia and China abstaining, in the latest sign of growing tensions with western powers over how to engage with the continent.

Last year’s renewal vote was unanimous.

The French resolution extends the mission of the 7-year-old Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) until 15 November 2022, while maintaining current troop levels of up to 14,400 military personnel, 3,020 police personnel and 108 corrections officers.

At the heart of the Security Council dispute is Russia’s military support for the government in Bangui, particularly its use of Wagner Group mercenaries who have been popping up in Libya, Sudan and other African countries in recent years.