[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
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
In Brussels, NGO staff are being trained to fill the shortfall of field workers in West Africa.
Lawsuit by 6-year-old girl, locked up for a year, reignites debate over indefinite detention of 'boat people'.
Indonesian and Malaysian authorities are keeping a close eye on local supporters of the hard-line Middle East group.
Citizens of the tiny African nation say they're increasingly anxious of the fallout after alleged coup.
A humanitarian crisis and a budget crisis converge in the heart of the human smuggling corridor in Texas.
join our mailing list