Estonian Experts to Probe Possible CAR Mission (1)
The Defense Forces are sending experts to the Central African Republic to analyze how Estonia could help stabilize the nation following an outbreak of religious conflict sparked by presidential elections in March.
Defense Forces commander in chief Maj. Gen. Riho Terras told ETV on Monday that the situation could escalate into genocide if foreign forces do not act quickly.
The task of the experts is to assess how Estonia can help the current French and African Union troops in the country, and what the risks to Estonian troops would be.
Defense Minister Urmas Reinsalu said that his French counterpart asked Estonia for help. As the Defense Forces have experience with foreign missions, he said, they could contribute to the greater good by making sure that the CAR conflict is no threat to the wider security situation.
Any combat or military training mission to the CAR would have to be approved by Parliament, which recently extended the mandates of Estonian forces in Mali and Afghanistan, and authorized the deployment of troops in non-combat roles to five other nations.
A conflict between Christians and Muslims broke out in the African nation after Michel Djotodia became the nation's first Muslim president in March
The African Union has 6,000 soldiers deployed in the CAR and France another 1,700.
Violence has escalated in recent weeks, with 10 percent of the population having fled their homes.