KIGALI, (The Southern African Times) – Rwanda’s troops newly deployed to the Central African Republic (CAR) for protecting peacekeeping force will operate “within the legitimate and legal framework,” said Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Monday.
Kagame’s announcement came a day after Rwanda’s defense ministry dispatching troops to the CAR in response to the targeting of the Rwandan peacekeepers by rebels who were reportedly supported by former CAR President Francois Bozize.
The additional deployment at the invitation of the CAR government will not only protect the Rwandan force contingent under the UN peacekeeping mission but also help civilians, said the president.
Armed conflicts erupted in the central African country a week ahead of its upcoming general elections, which was scheduled for next Sunday.
On Saturday, the CAR government accused Bozize of an “attempted coup,” saying he organized armed groups and foreign mercenaries in the west of the country as a “clear intention to march” to Bangui, the CAR capital.
A spokesman for Bozize’s Kwa Na Kwa party denied the accusation, calling it a strategy to taint the former president’s image.
The CAR government on Monday said that Rwanda and Russia have deployed forces in the CAR to secure the electoral process.