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UN backs French mission as violence surges in CAR

© Photo: AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-12-05

The UN Security Council approved Thursday an expanded intervention by French and African troops in the conflict-torn Central African Republic, hours after sectarian clashes left scores dead in the capital of Bangui.

The UN Security Council on Thursday authorised French and African troops to use force to protect civilians in the Central African Republic (CAR), where violent clashes between rival militias left scores dead in the capital city, Bangui.

The Council also voted to impose an arms embargo on the country, asked the United Nations to prepare for a possible peacekeeping mission, and set up a commission to investigate human rights abuses.

Sectarian bloodshed

Earlier in the day, fierce clashes broke out between armed groups – largely split between Christians and Muslims – in the capital of the Central African Republic, in the worst fighting since a March coup brought a mainly Muslim rebel group to power.

Watch FRANCE 24's exclusive report on the clashes in Bangui

FRANCE 24’s Matthieu Mabin said he and video crews had counted at least 130 dead people in one Bangui neighbourhood, while Doctors Without Borders said it was caring for scores of injured people, many of them seriously.

Most of the victims suffered from wounds inflicted by knives and machetes, Doctors Without Borders said.

Hours after the clashes in Bangui, fresh fighting erupted in the city of Bossangoa, located around 220 kilometres northwest of the capital.

African peacekeepers protected hundreds of civilians at their base in the provincial city, coming under heavy fire from former rebels in what appeared to be a reprisal attack linked to the violence in Bangui.

French troops to intervene 'immediately'

French President François Hollande said the French military would double its presence in the impoverished African country to include 1,200 troops, possibly within hours.

Speaking from the Elysée Palace in Paris, Hollande said he had decided to act “immediately” given the “horrific” situation in the Central African Republic.

The French forces will work in partnership with an African Union force known as MISCA, whose troop numbers are also set to rise from about 2,500 to 3,500.

This UN-backed military intervention, which was established on the eve of a major summit on African security in Paris, is France’s second in Africa this year following the French-led operation to drive Jihadist forces out of northern Mali.

To see today's events as they unfolded, click on the blog below.

 

Date created : 2013-12-05

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