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France to send 400 more troops to CAR

By on February 16, 2014

France said on Friday it plans to send another 400 troops to help combat a crisis in the Central African Republic. French President Francois Hollande’s office urged other countries to show “increased solidarity” and called on the United Nations Security Council to approve the creation of a U.N. peacekeeping force in CAR.

France has deployed 1,600 personnel there to support African Union troops following a U.N. Security Council vote in December authorizing military intervention. The additional troops will bring France’s Central African Republic deployment to 2,000.

Six EU states offered “substantial” contributions of soldiers or police for Central African Republic, diplomats said, but those countries were not named.

The Central African Republic plunged into chaos last year after a coalition of rebels dubbed Seleka ousted President Francois Bozize, in the latest in a series of coups since the country gained independence in 1960.

Rebels infiltrated the capital in March, sending Bozize fleeing to Cameroon. One of the Seleka’s leaders, Michel Djotodia, then seized power only to step down as President in January after failing to halt the escalating violence.
Seleka is a predominantly Muslim coalition, and to counter the attacks on Christian communities, vigilante Christian groups have fought back.

According to the United Nations, more than 700,000 people across the Central African Republic have been displaced — including about 290,000 alone in the capital of Bangui — and 2.6 million “need immediate humanitarian assistance.”

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