Central African internal security forces boosted by over 1,000 new recruits
Security Sector Reform (SSR) – a prerequisite for stabilizing the whole of the Central African Republic (CAR) – has been boosted by the recruitment of over 1,000 new officers to the country’s Internal Security Forces.
800 police students were welcomed into the Central African Internal Security Forces (FSI) on 28 August 2020. Less than a week later, 550 gendarmerie students, including 138 women, officially joined the ranks of the Central African Defence and Security Forces during a ceremony held on 1 September 2020 at the Kolongo Gendarmerie School in Bangui.
Both sets of students had undergone several months of technical-professional training in public security, law enforcement, police administration, judicial and forensic procedures as well as in ethics and deontology. The new recruits – 1,350 police and gendarmerie officers in total – represent a significant step in strengthening the country’s Security Sector Reform (SSR) agenda, a cornerstone of durable peace and security in a country long marked by conflict.
First to extend his congratulations to the graduates was the Head of State, Faustin-Archange Touadéra. “I am sure that your training, adapted to the current situation in our country, will allow you to work in strict respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms for the operational defence of the territory, public security and the protection of people and their property,” he said.
“We received training on the maintenance of order, protection of civilians, community policing, human rights, gender equality and gender-based violence. For me, it is an honor to wear the uniform and serve in the police force,” said new recruit Octavian Augustus Sillo proudly. The training on judicial police work, such as general criminal law and special criminal law, was a highlight for 2nd Class Constable Alise Cristelle Ngaiyabou: “My dream is to work in the Research and Intervention Section of the National Gendarmerie as an investigator.”
UN Security Council Resolution 2499 (2019) mandates MINUSCA to “promote and support the rapid extension of State authority over the entire the territory of the CAR, including by supporting the deployment of vetted and trained national police and gendarmerie” and “to take a leadership role in supporting CAR authorities in enhancing the capacities of the FSI.”
Accordingly, the Mission plays a key role in supporting the national authorities in the selection and training of police and gendarmerie officers. Assistance in recruitment operations has extended to logistical support to include printing of materials and transportation of recruiters, evaluators and candidates throughout the country, technical advice through the expertise of the MINUSCA Police Component, implementation of training projects and programs through co-location of police experts with the leadership of training schools and the management of the COVID-19 pandemic. MINUSCA’s financial support has amounted to over 16 million CFA.
The UN Special Representative of the Secretary General and MINUSCA Chief, Mankeur Ndiaye, outlined his great expectations for the new officers. “You, the new recruits, are one of the elements of the package of measures that will contribute to bringing about peace, but above all to maintaining stability,” adding that “the return of peace and social cohesion in the Central African Republic is the guarantee of any sustainable development in the country.”
Constable Ngaiyabou is ready to roll up her sleeves and get to work. Women’s rights are another issue close to her heart.“Women are among the most affected by the crisis that we are going through. It will be a privilege to fight against violence against women,” she said.
With the new recruits on board, the CAR has now doubled the size of its Internal Security Forces since 2014 – an important milestone – not least at the current, crucial time as the country prepares for the impending 2020/2021 elections.