MINUSCA Deputy Force Commander in Bria to learn about security challenges
Meeting with the population and local authorities to listen to their security concerns was top of the agenda for the MINUSCA Deputy Force Commander, Major General Paulo Maia Pereira, during a visit to Bria, Haute-Kotto prefecture in the east of the Central African Republic, on 16 June 2021.
The Force Commander exchanged views on the security situation in Haute-Kotto with the MINUSCA regional office management team and prefectural authorities – in order to provide adequate responses. He also met with MINUSCA troops to encourage them in their daily commitment to protect civilians.
Major General Pereira and the Prefect of Haute-Kotto, Evariste Binguinendji, took stock of the progress made with regard to the restoration of State authority in the area since 2017. The prefect described how life was “almost at a standstill” when he first arrived in Bria, while highlighting the significant gains made around security, transport, infrastructure.
“Thanks to MINUSCA, the Internal Security Forces (ISF) and the Central African Armed Forces (FACA) gradually arrived. Security was provided by MINUSCA throughout the town,” he said, adding that the national defence and security forces also receive continuous training through the Mission.
He further hailed MINUSCA’s Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) – courtesy of which prefectural offices and residences of civil servants were renovated, office supplies provided, civil servants trained and transport to localities such as Ouada, Yalinga, Samouandja made easier. “We are satisfied and happy to be working together with MINUSCA (...) and our relationship is good.”
The MINUSCA Deputy Force Commander also visited the Bria-Yalinga axis and the site of the Kotto River ferry crossing that links the two localities. Significantly, the ferry was renovated and made operational through a MINUSCA Quick Impact Project carried out in 2019.
Moreover, MINUSCA has renovated more than 16 bridges on this axis, in order to facilitate the movement of people, and especially the protection of civilians in the area. The Bria-Yalinga road is also of great importance to the region's economy as it not only ensures trade between the Central African Republic and Sudan but also serves as a vital link between the towns of Bria and Bangassou (Mbomou prefecture).
Major General Paulo Maia Pereira emphasized that the greatest challenge at the moment remains security and development in Haute-Kotto.