Chilean Armed Forces Join Peacekeeping Mission in Central African Republic
By Geraldine Cook February 26, 2016
Three officers from the Chile’s Joint Chiefs of Staff began serving at the operational command headquarters of the UN’s MINUSCA on February 26th.
Chile’s Armed Forces have joined the United Nations (UN) Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA). The Joint Chiefs of Staff’s (EMCO) three officers – Army Major Fernando Mella Spuler, Navy Lieutenant Commander César Gajardo Blu, and Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jorge Bustos Oakley – began supporting the effort on February 26th.
Maj. Mella Spuler serves as the Logistics Officer at MINUSCA’s headquarters in the Central African Republic capital of Bangui, while Lt. Cmdr. Gajardo Blu is the Personnel Officer at the headquarters of the Central Sector Brigade in the city of Kaga Bandoro. Lt. Col. Bustos Oakley is an Air Operations Officer at the same location as Lt. Cmdr. Gajardo Blu. “The goal is to protect civilians and support international security and the transition process in the Central African Republic,” explained Lieutenant Colonel Augusto Scarella, EMCO’s Secretary General.
The three officers were selected based on their professional skills and Military experience. They trained for two weeks at Chile’s Joint Center for Peacekeeping Operations before being deployed, in accordance with the UN’s academic guidelines. “The decision to contribute to the African continent is part of Chile’s commitment to peace,” Undersecretary of Defense Marcos Robledo said.
On January 27th, Chile’s National Congress approved sending Troops and logistical support to MINUSCA in three stages
. The move fulfilled the pledge Chilean President Michelle Bachelet made during the Second World Leaders’ Summit on Peacekeeping, which was held in New York City in September 2015.
The first stage involves sending Military officers; the second stage focuses on sending a Construction Engineers Unit and a Medium Helicopter Unit; and the third stage will involve deploying a Level 2 Medical Unit made up of Soldiers and civilians. “The officers will serve for six months during this first stage, after which three other Soldiers will be sent as replacements,” Robledo said. “This is a way to show solidarity with a region that is experiencing major difficulties. Countries are cooperating in order to work together to deal with situations that concern us all.”
For Chile, the deployment will also allow it to receive “privileged and updated information about the terrain, forces, organization, and the development and drive of operations from which we can continue learning and evaluating ways and methods for participating in these types of peacekeeping missions,” Robledo said. Lt. Cmdr. Gajardo Blu stated it is a “tremendous challenge for us as Chileans to participate in this mission as pioneers in MINUSCA. We are very confident in the work we will carry out because we were very well prepared.”
MINUSCA was established on April 7, 2014 by UN Security Council Resolution 2149 to deal with the humanitarian, political, security, and human rights crises in the Central African Republic. The mission, which includes 11,644 Troops from 48 countries, strives to ensure peace for civilians.
Troops are mandated to support the transition process, facilitate humanitarian assistance, promote and protect human rights, provide support for justice and the rule of law, and carry out disarmament, demobilization, reintegration, and repatriation processes, according to the UN report. “There is a lot of internal disorder in various African countries,” Lt. Col. Bustos Oakley said. “If you can cooperate just a little bit to improve the situation for the people who live there, you will have received your reward.”
Chile also currently has peacekeepers deployed in Haiti (MINUSTAH), Bosnia Herzegovina (ALTHEA), Cyprus (UNFICYP), India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), and the Middle East (UNTSO).
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