Central African Republic Crisis: France Sends More Troops
Paris – The first reinforcements to the French force in the Central African Republic (CAR) are deploying in a bid to restore order after a rebel takeover. Some 200 troops have arrived, with another 500 expected imminently. Some former rebel forces have reportedly been leaving the capital, Bangui, as the French troops arrived in the city.
More than 10% of the 4.6 million population have fled their homes since Michel Djotodia seized power in March. He is the country’s first leader from the minority Muslim community. Muslim-Christian sectarian attacks have led to warnings of a genocide. CAR is rich in minerals but has suffered numerous coups, mutinies and conflicts since independence from France in 1960, leaving most of its people in poverty.
The BBC’s William Edmundson in one of the areas worst-hit by the violence, Bossangoa about 300km (185 miles) north of Bangui says that, although the Seleka rebel force has been officially disbanded, they can still be seen across the country. He says that French troops, African Union peacekeepers, Seleka fighters and paramilitary police from the ousted regime are all patrolling in Bangui and it is difficult to say who is in charge. (BBC)