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CAR’s government wants a UN arms embargo lifted

Soldiers of the International Support Mission for the Central African Republic (MISCA), placed under the auspices of the African Union, formerly known as the multinational force of central Africa, FOMAC, patrol on October 7, 2013 in a street of Bangui, where arms were seized in houses during a disarmament operation of Seleka rebels. The poor, landlocked nation plunged into chaos earlier this year when a coalition of rebels and armed movements ousted president Francois Bozize in March. AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGO (Photo by ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP)

Central African Republic’s prime minister led a rally of around 3,000 people on Monday calling for a global arms embargo to be lifted ahead of a UN meeting later this week.

The mineral-rich country, threatened by ethnic and religious conflict since 2013, has been subject to a UN Security Council arms and ammunition embargo for the past five years.

Speaking on a podium in Bangui’s central Place des Martyrs, Prime Minister Mathieu Simplice Sarandji said: “This is a lock that deserves to be opened, this is an embargo which strikes our defence and security forces.”  

“The government respects the embargo while armed groups receive weapons! The people of Central African Republic can not understand this law of double standards,” he said to cheers from the crowds in the capital.

The UN Security Council will on Thursday decide whether to renew the embargo, which bans weapon supplies to the country unless approved by a UN sanctions committee.

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