Chadian soldiers serving in the Central African capital of Bangui began leaving the city on Friday, less than 24 hours after their withdrawal was announced. Their final challenge was avoiding confrontations with Christian militias as they left.
A series of violent incidents involving Chadian troops had sparked anger in the conflict-stricken country and raised tensions between Chad and the United Nations, culminating in Chad's decision to withdraw its troops from the African Union peacekeeping mission.
The announcement was met with joy in the streets of Bangui, where Christian residents have accused Chadian troops of siding with the mainly Muslim Seleka rebels.
Strict security measures were taken by French and other African forces on Friday to allow the Chadian military convoy to leave the city safely.
Fearing the departing contingent would come under attack from so-called anti-balaka militias, tanks were sent ahead to clear the streets of the capital’s Christian neighbourhoods.
To watch FRANCE 24’s full report on the Chadian force’s withdrawal from Bangui, click on the player above.
Chad: UN accusations "defamatory”
Chad said on Saturday that UN accusations the country’s troops carried out an unprovoked attack on civilians in the CAR capital Bangui were "defamatory and tendentious".
On Friday the UN said that an investigation into the attack on March 29 found that Chadian troops had opened fire on a crowded market “without any provocation", killing at least 30 people.
"The government of the Republic of Chad expresses its surprise and indignation faced with the purported investigation published by the United Nations Human Rights Commission," said a government statement sent to AFP.
It came as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in CAR for the first time since the country erupted into sectarian bloodshed four months ago. He promised those displaced by the violence they could “count on the international community”.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP)
Date created : 2014-04-05