France to increase troop presence in CAR
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France will send an extra 800 troops to the Central African Republic in a bid to bolster security in the wartorn nation, Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye said Monday. Paris said last week that the central African nation was "on the verge of genocide".
France will triple the number of French troops in the troubled Central African Republic, the wartorn nation’s Prime Minister said Monday after meeting with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius in Paris.
Central African Republic Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye said France would send an extra 800 troops once the UN Security Council had voted on a resolution authorising international intervention.
The extra troops would join 410 French soldiers already in Bangui, bringing the total number to 1,200.
President François Hollande is urging the UN to clear the way for military intervention.
“The international community must act in the Central African Republic. The UN is preparing for it and France, once again, will be there,” Hollande said.
News of the deployment follows Fabius' warning last Thursday that the Central African nation was "on the verge of genocide".
The mineral-rich but impoverished country of 4.6 million people has descended into violence and chaos since Séléka rebels, many of them from neighbouring Chad and Sudan, ousted President François Bozize in March.
The US State Department estimates that nearly 400,000 people have been displaced and 68,000 have fled to neighbouring countries since Séléka leader and interim president Michel Djotodia lost control of his loose coalition of warlords.
Tiangaye said the troop boost would help secure the road from neighbouring Cameroon to the riverside capital Bangui, protecting a vital corridor and allowing supply trucks into the landlocked country.
The troops will also protect the northwest and any areas where African troops needed to restore security.
“What is unacceptable is that the situation has become worse and there are multiple crimes against humanity in the country. My concern is to put an end to this as quickly as possible,” he said.
Troop deployment was expected to begin in December, after the United Nations Security Council votes to mandate international intervention in the country.
On Monday UN leader Ban Ki-Moon called up for up to 6,000 more international troops to be sent to the Central African Republic.
French troops will join a regional peacekeeping force, the African Union-mandated International Support Mission in the Central African Republic (MISCA).
The bulk of MISCA, which should total some 3,600 men at full strength, is provided by Chad, with troops from Gabon, Cameroon, the Republic of Congo and Equatorial Guinea.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AFP)
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