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 Deployments and operations

EUTM RCA

Military training mission in the Central African Republic
EU EUTM Central African Republic

 

The Central African Republic (RCA) is a country with an area greater than Spain and just over 5 million inhabitants. Because of its geographical location, it has a tropical climate, with temperatures of around 30ºC and considerable rain during half  year.

The Central African Republic (RCA) is a former French colony, and achieved independence on 13th August 1960. Since then, political instability has been a recurring question in its recent history.

The current situation has its most recent history in 2013. In March, the president, François Bozizé was overthrown by the uprising of SELEKA rebels, primarily Muslims, in the north and north-eastern areas of the country.  

Michel Djotodia, one of the main leaders of SELEKA, assumed power, suspended the constitution and dissolved Parliament with the intention of holding free elections after an 18-month transition period. However, he was unable to control the SELEKA groups dedicated to terrorising the civilian population. In response, old militias, made up of Christians and animists, were activated, to defend themselves against the Seleka outrage and initiate retaliatory actions under the name of anti-Balaka militias.

The deterioration of the situation at the end of 2013 led, on one hand, to the resignation of President Djotodia and the appointment of the interim president Catherine Samba-Panza, and on the other, to deployment of various forces to maintain the peace: MISCA- the International Mission of the African Union to support the RCA, later replaced by MINUSCA; SANGARIS from France and EUFOR-RCA and EUMAM-RCA from the European Union.

Having achieved the objectives of the EUMAM-RCA operation by the middle of 2016, it was replaced by EUTM-RCA.

Mandate

On 14 March 2016, the Council approved the Crisis Management Concept on a possible EU Military Training Mission in the Central African Republic (EUTM RCA), to contribute to the country's defence sector reform. In a letter dated 30 March 2016, the President of the CAR, Faustin-Archange Touadéra invited the Union to deploy an EU CSDP military training mission in the CAR (EUTM RCA). Subsequently, on 19 April 2016 the Council formally decided to establish EUTM RCA with a view to launching it in July 2016.

In close coordination and complementarity with the MINUSCA, EUTM RCA will support the CAR Government in the implementation of the Security Sector Reform (SSR) by assisting the Forces Armées Centrafricaines (FACA). The goal is to support the build-up of a modernised, effective, ethnically balanced and democratically accountable FACA. The Mission shall concentrate its action in the Bangui and Bouar areas.

The new mission follows the EU Military Advisory Mission in the CAR (EUMAM RCA), the mandate of which came to its end on 17 July 2016.

On 30 July 2018, the Council extended the mandate of the EUTM RCA by two years, i.e. until 19 September 2020. The Council also modified the mandate of the mission to enable it to give strategic advice not only to the Ministry of Defense, military staff and the armed forces, but also to the President's cabinet, and to allow it to provide advice on civil-military cooperation, including to the Ministry of the Interior and the Gendarmerie.

The mandate enables the support of the CAR authorities in the preparation and implementation of the upcoming Defence and Security Sector Reform (SSR) by assisting the FACA to manage their situation and to build the capacity and quality needed to meet the goal of a future modernised, effective, ethnically balanced and democratically accountable FACA.

Background

In a letter dated 8 October 2015, the Chef de l'État de la Transition of the Central African Republic (CAR), Mrs Catherine Samba-Panza, invited the European Union to further support the Central African Armed Forces (FACA) through a reinforced operational training structure in full collaboration with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).

Operation EUTM RCA is intended to provide continuity to the European Union's mission EUFOR RCA, following its completion in March 2015.

It was launched as a result of the international community's commitment to prevent genocide of African civilians and now, following stabilisation, it is necessary to strengthen security and teach its armed forces to make their own decisions.

The new operation must serve as a link with the forces deployed on the ground, both those of the United Nations' MINUSCA (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic) and the French forces of operation 'Sangaris'.

In conjunction with MINUSCA, provides advice to the Presidential teams overseeing national security policy and SSR.

To this end, the EUTM RCA contributes to the restructuring of the Defense sector in three domains: strategic advice, operational training and education. Since July 2016 the EUTM RCA has advised, educated and trained more than 3,400 soldiers, men and women of FACA.

1. The mission provided strategic advice to the political and military authorities, both in the field of the deployment planning and in the development of major documents: National Defense Plan (2017), military programming law (2019-2023), recruitments plan (2018).

It also analysed some projects to support the deployment of FACA:

  • Assembly of military bridges in SAPEKE and ZINGA,
  • Infrastructure and equipment projects financed by the European Union.

2. Within the operational training domain, EUTM RCA has trained five battalions: four (4) deployable infantry battalions (the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Bataillon d’Infanterie Territorial - BIT), and one (1) Amphibious Battalion.

EUTM RCA has also educated 1,200 officers and non-commissioned officers (NCOs) in specialized areas such as signals, leadership, tactics, International Humanitarian Law, human rights and prevention of sexual abuse and VIH/AIDS.

More than 4, 000 FACA have been trained and amongst the 1, 500 FACA deployed in the CAR, 1,100 have been trained by EUTM RCASince July 26th more than 1,018 recruits have been receiving a basic training organized both in KASSAI (512 FACA) and in BOUAR (506 FACA).

Spain's Involvement

EUTM-RCA is a non-executive defence mission with the aim of contributing to the EU´s efforts in advising, teaching and training the Armed Forces of the Central African Republic. It aims to support the reform of the Armed Forces and strengthen their ability to contribute to the defence of their own territory and the protection of their own population.

Spain currently contributes to EUTMRCA with eight servicemen from the Spanish Army.

Linked to this mission was Spanish Air Force's 'Mamba' detachment, which had been operating in Libreville (Gabon) since March 2014 to ensure logistic support for the Spanish troops deployed in the Central African Republic. The detachment was shut down on  March 24th, 2020.

2020

  • November 23rd. The Spanish contigent deployed into EUTM-RCA took over; including the new Chief of Staff, Spanish Col. Valentín Olombrada Valverde.
  • September 18th. Portuguese Brigadier General Paulo NEVES DE ABREU took over from Brigadier General Eric PELTIER (France) as the commander of the European Union Training Mission in the Central African Republic (EUTM-RCA). 
  • June 18th. EUTM-RCA's HQ has hosted the Chief of Staff HOTO ceremony between Spanish Colonels. Incoming Col. Fernando Bermejo Cabrera took over from Col. Alfonso Barea. 

2019

  • November 21. Transfer of Authority of the Spanish contingent. Colonel Pedro Polo, Commander Mission, was relieved after six months of deployment by Colonel Alfonso Barea.

2018

  •  March 28. A team from the 19th Spanish Legion Special Operations Battalion (BOEL in Spanish) evaluates training of the future Special Operations Company from the Central African Armed Forces (FACA in Spanish).
  •  January 11. Mayor General García Blázquez ends its command as head of the mission.

2017

  • July 24. Mayor General, Fernando García Blázquez, takes over the command of the EUTM CAR (Central African Republic) mission.
  • January. Training of the 2nd and 3rd Territorial Infantry Battalion (BIT in Spanish) Company No. 3.

2016

  • July 16. The EUTM CAR Operation begins. Training of the 1st Territorial Infantry Battalion (BIT) Company No. 3.

2015

  • November 21. Relevo del contingente español. El coronel Pedro Polo, jefe de Estado Mayor de la misión, ha sido relevado tras seis meses de despliegue por el coronel Alfonso Barea.
  • April 22. The Congress of Deputies authorises Spanish participation in the EUMAM CAR mission.
  • March 15. The EUFOR CAR mission comes to an end.
  • January 19. The European Union Council establishes a military advising mission for the CAR as part of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).
  • January 16. The Head of State of the Central African Republic requests the EU to deploy an advisory mission, after conclusion of the EUFOR CAR, an operation launched by the European Union in February 2014.

EMAD PRESS RELEASES ON EUTM RCA

  • Col. Olombrada taking over from Col. Bermejo

    The Spanish representatives take over within the EU military mission in the Central African Republic

    The Spanish representatives take over within the EU military mission in the Central African Republic

    2020/11/23

    Bangui

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  • Hand over at Spanish detachments within the European Union Mission in the Central African Republic

    Hand over at Spanish detachments within the European Union Mission in the Central African Republic

    Hand over at Spanish detachments within the European Union Mission in the Central African Republic

    2020/06/18

    Central African Republic

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  • Handover/takeover (HOTO) of the Spanish contingent from the European Union Training Mission in the Central African Republic

    Handover/takeover (HOTO) of the Spanish contingent from the European Union Training Mission in the Central African Republic

    Handover/takeover (HOTO) of the Spanish contingent from the European Union Training Mission in the Central African Republic

    2019/11/21

    In Bangui

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  • Spanish soldiers inaugurate a classroom at the Vocational Training Centre of Bangui

    Spanish soldiers inaugurate a classroom at the Vocational Training Centre of Bangui

    Spanish soldiers inaugurate a classroom at the Vocational Training Centre of Bangui

    2019/10/04

    In Central African Republic

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Official web page

Official web page