[QODLink]
Africa

France to send 1,000 troops to CAR

Former colonial power says that it "cannot have a country fall apart" as rebel groups battle government forces.

Last updated: 26 Nov 2013 17:24
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

France will send 1,000 troops to Central African Republic - the second time France has boosted its presence there in a year - under an expected UN-backed mission to keep growing chaos at bay.

Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French defence minister, made the announcement on Tuesday - a day after a top UN official warned of mass atrocities and possible civil war in CAR, where rebel groups joined forces in March and overthrew the president.

The rebels have been accused by rights groups of committing scores of atrocities including murder, rape and the use of child soldiers. 

"It's in collapse and we cannot have a country fall apart like that. There is the violence, massacres and humanitarian chaos that follow a collapse,'' Le Drian told a European radio station. "It will be a short mission to allow calm and stability to return.''

In Mali, France has about 2,800 troops taking part in an operation that began after rebels and al-Qaida-linked fighters moved to take over the capital last winter.

Le Drian dismissed any comparisons between the Mali and CAR missions. 

"In Mali there was an attack of jihadists, terrorists who wanted to transform Mali into a terrorist state. This is a collapse of a country with a potential for religious clashes,'' he said.

"France has international responsibilities, is a permanent member of the Security Council, has history with Central African Republic, and the United Nations is asking us to do it.''

Force multiplier

France already has 420 soldiers in Central African Republic - mostly to protect the airport in the capital Bangui.

The country has asked France to increase that force and French diplomats have announced plans to circulate a draft Security Council resolution that will call for additional support for the 3,000-strong force led by the African Union now in the country.

France hopes that a UN resolution will be passed before the start of a summit in Paris next week focusing on security issues in Africa, French diplomats have said.

The expanded French deployment would happen after that. France would accompany an African force of troops from neighboring countries, and the French mission would be expected to last about six months, Le Drian said.

343

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
About 500,000 participated around the globe in the Peoples Climate March, and Al Jazeera spoke to some in New York.
Separatist movements in Spain, Belgium and Italy may face headwinds following Scotland's decision to stay in the UK.
A fishing trawler carrying 500 migrants across the Mediterranean was rammed by another boat, causing hundreds to drown.
Anti-immigration Sweden Democrats party - with roots in the neo-Nazi movement - recently won 12.9 percent of the vote.
Palestinian doctor who lost three daughters in previous Gaza war is fighting to bring 100 wounded kids to Canada.