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France to end military operations in CAR in October

Edouard Dropsy, AFP | Archival pictures show French soldiers sitting atop an armoured vehicle as they drive through Bangui's PK12 district on September 14, 2015

President Francois Hollande announced on Wednesday that France would end its military mission in the Central African Republic in October.


"Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian will go to the Central African Republic next October to officially declare the end of Operation Sangaris," Hollande said at a reception at the defence ministry.

Operation Sangaris was launched in December 2013 in a bid to quell violence between Christian and Muslim militias that left thousands dead and drove half a million people from their homes.

The force, which at its peak had more than 2,000 troops, has been progressively scaled back, being reduced to 350 soldiers in June.

In a bid to suppress the sectarian violence, the UN has sent a peacekeeping force known as MINUSCA, comprising over 12,000 foreign police and soldiers, as well as more than 500 foreign civilian staff.

The chronically unstable country has seen a resurgence of violence since mid-June, sending some 6,000 people fleeing to neighbouring Chad and Cameroon, according to the UN refugee agency.

President Faustin-Archange Touadera, who took office in March after a peaceful election, warned on Sunday that the Central African Republic remained "in danger," with entire regions controlled by armed groups.


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