France 'to send extra troops' to Central African Republic
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France will send extra troops to the Central African Republic by the year end as part of a forthcoming UN resolution aimed at ending violence in the country, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Sunday.
France will boost its troops presence in the Central African Republic by the year end under a forthcoming U.N. resolution to help prevent the country from spiralling out of control, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Sunday.
Fabius and European Union’s aid chief, Kristalina Georgieva, are in the country to drum up support and international interest for a largely forgotten crisis.
"We will increase our support especially in the logistics domain after United Nations resolutions (are approved). We will also increase troops, a little at first. This will be done before the end of the year," Fabius said.
France currently has about 400 troops in Bangui, protecting the airport and French interests. Fabius did not say how many troops will be added, but sources have told Reuters the numbers could be increased to about 700-750.
The Central African Republic has descended into chaos since mostly Muslim Seleka rebels ousted President Francois Bozize in March, the latest coup in the country that remains one of the world’s poorest despite resources ranging from gold to uranium.
Since seizing power aided by the Seleka alliance, transitional President Michel Djotodia has failed to control the ex-rebel fighters who have been accused of unleashing a wave violence on civilians despite being officially dissolved.
The African Union has responded to the conflict by deploying about 2,500 troops. But its resources are limited, prompting Paris to seek a U.N. Security Council mandate that would turn the operation into a U.N. peacekeeping force ultimately supported by French troops.
Fabius said the dissolution of Seleka, a grouping of five northern rebel movements, must be real and concrete with some of them returning to civilian life while others should be in barracks.
"We cannot have armed bands roaming the country," Fabius told a news conference in the riverside capital.