According to the Department of Defense, between December 12th and December 16th, a total of eight C-17 sorties have been flown between Burundi and Central African Republic as part of efforts to bolster the African-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic (MISCA) there. A flight yesterday carried thirty-nine personnel, a 1.5-ton truck, an armored personnel carrier, and six pallets of equipment totaling forty-two tons. As of the 15th, the US had moved four hundred and thirty-two passengers, twenty-five pallets of equipment, and thirteen Burundian military vehicle in total.
Another flight was to be flown yesterday and two more were expected to be flown today, which would involve the movement of an additional one hundred and sixty-five personnel. The initial plan, announced on the 9th, has been to support the deployment of a full battalion of Burundian peacekeepers to CAR, totaling approximately eight hundred and fifty personnel, along with their supporting equipment. The US would likely remain able and willing to respond to additional requests for support after the airlift of Burundian forces is complete.
On December 10th, President Barack Obama also delegated the Secretary of State to direct the drawdown of up to $60 million in defense articles from the stocks of the Department of Defense (DoD) and defense services of the DOD to provide assistance to countries and entities engaged in international peacekeeping efforts in CAR. These countries and entities included France, the African Union, the Republic of the Congo, Chad, Cameroon, Gabon, Burundi, Uganda, Rwanda. In addition, the memorandum noted that such assistance could also be extended to other countries not named that contribute forces to MISCA, allowing such support to be provided to African nations who may join the effort at a later date. The US State Department had previously announced $40 million in support for MISCA and the French intervention, Operation Sangaris.
France has also been pushing for additional European Union support, suggesting yesterday that the group establish a permanent fund to support such interventions. The proposal is no doubt in part influenced by any of a number of programs the US has in place, such as the Global Peace Operations Initiative. Poland, Britain, Germany, Spain, and Belgium have reportedly provided various forms for support for the French effort, but only France has deployed troops to the troubled country. The UK, for instance, helped to rapidly deploy French forces from Europe to CAR during the initial stages of the intervention. Operation Sangaris began on the 6th, the day after the UN Security Council approved a UN mandate for MISCA and French forces in CAR. Violence and instability following a rebel incursion into the capital that overthrew the government in March has led the country closer and closer to a humanitarian crisis. A senior official with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization warned yesterday of an impending food crisis, the latest indicator of the dire situation there.