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RCA: Portuguese army involved in clashes in Bambari for three days – Actuality

According to EMGFA, in a statement released today, the Portuguese military "were again involved in clashes in Bambari to repel the pockets of resistance of the fighters who gathered in the city to recover the positions lost in recent weeks".

"These actions occur after the violent fighting started on October 10 and then extended to Bokolobo, the main bastion and command post of the rebel group Seleka UPC (Union for Peace in the Central African Republic), 60 kilometers to the south-east of Bambari ", reads the note.

In these days, "following the operations of the Portuguese Rapid Reaction Force, eight armed pick-ups with two heavy machine guns were captured, 11 anti-tank rocket grenades, automatic rifles, guns, uniforms and documentation were captured".

In addition, the Portuguese military "also captured five elements of the UPC, one of which presumably belonged to the armed group's command structure".

"The actions of the Portuguese Blue Helmets, which supported the Central African armed forces and local authorities, met the military objectives of the United Nations military mission in the Central African Republic to repel the rebels struck by the UCP., Put aside new clashes should a new attempt to return to the city of Bambari, "says EMGFA.

According to EMGFA, "the ongoing operation" Bambari without armed groups and weapons "will continue in the coming days in order to ensure at the same time the security of the civilian population, the strengthening of the state authority in Bambari , and prevent the rebels from mingling with the population and illegally occupying their homes ".

Currently, there are 180 Portuguese soldiers in the Central African Republic (RCA).

The RCA fell into chaos and violence in 2013, after the overthrow of the former president François Bozizé by several groups together in the so-called Séléka (which means a coalition in the local language), which triggered the opposition of other militia grouped under the name anti-Balaka.

The conflict in this country, the size of France and a population less than half of the Portuguese (4.6 million), has already caused 700,000 displaced and 570,000 refugees, and has put 2.5 million people in need of humanitarian aid.

The president's government, Faustin-Archange Touadéra, former prime minister who won the 2016 presidential election, controls about a fifth of the territory.

The rest is divided by 18 militias that seek above all money through kidnappings, extortion, blocks of communication channels, mineral resources (diamonds and gold, among others), theft of livestock and slaughter of elephants for the sale of ivory.

Portugal participates in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Mission for the Stabilization of the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), from the beginning of 2017, with a company of special troops, operating as a Rapid Reaction Force.

The MINUSCA is commanded by the Senegalese Lieutenant General Balla Keita, who has already classified the Portuguese forces as their "Ronaldos".

Portugal has 230 soldiers involved in CAR missions, including 180 in MINUSCA – a company of paratroopers and liaison officers – and 50 in the European military training mission – Central African Republic (EUMT-RCA).

The 2nd commander of MINUSCA is the Portuguese general Marco Serronha, while the commander of the EUMM-RCA is Brigadier General Hermínio Teodoro Maio.

[Notícia atualizada às 21:14]

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