He said his visit was to show solidarity with those inside the conflict-torn country, but the U.N. chief was clearly sending a message to the outside world.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wrapped up a trip to the Central African Republic last Friday, his first visit to a country hosting a U.N. peacekeeping mission since he assumed his post in January. The choice signaled the severity of the situation in CAR and a determination to highlight the importance of U.N. peacekeeping.
Violence has surged and spread in CAR, a near lawless former French colony, bringing a years-long crisis to a boil. Record numbers of people have been displaced. Civilians are being targeted, ethnic and religious divides exploited. The U.N. peacekeeping mission is overstretched and is itself now a target, both of deadly attacks and of criticism over troops’ actions.