The UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic, or MINUSCA as it is generally known, is composed of more than 11,500 soldiers, including 160 Portuguese - most of them commandos.

On Saturday the force carried out a military operation in Bocaranga - in which Portugal's 2nd National Deployed Force (FND) took part - with the aim of re-establishing order and security, as well as to protect the population in the region.

The main goal of the operation was to drive out the armed group 3R and others.

The mission, which included the use of helicopters, was carried out "in line with international law and conventions", the UN said.

The objectives were achieved and efforts are underway to safeguard the security of the city and surrounding area, to avoid the return of 3R.

Alongside the military operation, Minusca also offered protection of local civilians, some of whom sought refuge around its base.

"Minusca calls on all armed groups immediately to cease violence against innocent civilians and scrupulously respect their commitments to promote peace, in particular in the dialogue started by the President of the Republic, Faustin Archange Touadéra," the UN said.

The mission in Central African Republic was set up as the result of an April 2014 UN Security Council resolution and is mandated to support transition processes in the country, with the protection of civilians as its utmost priority.