Herve Ladsous, the UN under-secretary-general for peacekeeping operations has considered the potential use of drones to assist in monitoring the sectarian violence in Africa’s Central Republic. If the drones are deployed, it would be prior to the deployment of more than 12,000 peacekeepers. When asked about the use of drones, the under-secretary went on to say, “I think this is a very useful instrument in this type of territory”.
The unrest in the Central African Republic broke out a year ago between Christian and Muslim communities and at present, the Capital itself is nearly empty of all Muslim residents as most of them are fleeing from their homes in an attempt to keep their families safe.
Thousands have already been killed and millions more have been driven from their homes. The warnings from the Government and UN officials to these groups that the violence is on the brink of genocide, has fallen on deaf ears, which is what prompted the United Nations to step in. The United Nations will be contributing more than 2,000 French soldiers and 6,000 African soldiers with support from Italy, Georgia, Spain and Finland.
This would not be the first time the United Nations have turned to the use of drones for peacekeeping efforts. Back in December, the United Nations deployed drones in the Congo to monitor rebel activity and movement along the Congolese-Rwandan borders. Three more drones had been put into use in March.
The ability to hover in stationary positions or patrol the Capital from ten to twelve hours at a time, is allowing for critical data to be shared with ground forces. The drones are also being used to help identify and track trade routes of militia groups that are trying to smuggle firearms and other contraband into neighboring countries.