Rabat - More than 1,600 Moroccan soldiers, police officers, and civilian personnel have been assigned to the United Nations peacekeeping operations in Africa, making the kingdom one of the top 10 contributors of peacekeeping troops in the Central African Republic (CAR) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Rabat – More than 1,600 Moroccan soldiers, police officers, and civilian personnel have been assigned to the United Nations peacekeeping operations in Africa, making the kingdom one of the top 10 contributors of peacekeeping troops in the Central African Republic (CAR) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Over 830 Moroccan peacekeepers have been deployed in the MONUSCO, the United Nations stabilization sission in the DRC, according to the Maghreb Arab Press (MAP). These soldiers have “effectively contributed to the protection of civilians, humanitarian personnel and staff responsible for defending human rights, and supporting the DRC government in its stabilization and peacebuilding efforts,” explain the press agency.
Similarly, in the Central African Republic, the kingdom is contributing with 762 Moroccan peacekeepers as part of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the CAR (MINUSCA), which is mandated by the UNSC to protect civilians and support the implementation of the transition in this sub-Saharan country, which is highly volatile.
Morocco is an “essential partner” in UN peacekeeping operations as a whole, said the spokesman of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Nick Birnback, in a recent interview with MAP. The official noted that the kingdom ranks 14th among all troop and police contributors of the peacekeeping missions of the UN.
Birnback also paid tribute to the Moroccan peacekeepers who lost their lives “in the service of peace in UN peacekeeping operations around the world, and we are grateful to Morocco for its continued contribution” to UN operations.
In this regard, Birnback pointed out that the Moroccan contingent in the CAR is deployed “in some of the most difficult areas of the country” and is now in the south-east of the republic, namely Bangassou, Zemio, Rafai, and Obo.
This deployment, Birnback explained, is a response to violence partially a result of the gap created by the departure this year of Ugandan and US forces in charge of the Resistance Army of the Lord (RAL) issue.
This contribution and the sacrifices made by the Moroccan peacekeepers were, in fact, personally recognized and greeted by the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, during a visit to the CAR last October. The UN chief paid tribute to the Moroccan peacekeepers killed early 2017 during while carrying out their mission in the Central African Republic.
“I had the opportunity to talk with King Mohammed VI to convey my condolences to the Moroccan people, and I want to do it here in a direct way to all the colleagues and heroic soldiers who have fallen for the defense of peace,” Guterres had told the peacekeepers deployed in the CAR.
“You are doing extraordinarily courageous work, you are protecting civilians in a situation where peacekeeping is done without peace really being there, and you are doing it with an absolutely immense sacrifice and devotion,” he said.